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Memoirs & Rants of 3 decades of home sales!

Rob Northrup - Best Homes Team


Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 36

Rewards and such...

by Rob Northrup - Best Homes

As I prepare to leave the office for Memorial Day Weekend my thoughts have turned to what a month it's been!  I remember years ago when I left Century 21...  After riding this big round ball for 12 trips around the sun at that office I had an entire wall full of sales awards.  Not ever being one much for trophies (I have no idea where my wrestling medals and high school letterman jacket went), I packed the wooden & bronze plaques & trophies into a box and took them to the dumpster behind the office where I chucked them in.  The other agents were aghast!  The very awards they dreamed of one day receiving were cast away as garbage?!?!  Blasphemy!

Yet to me these awards meant nothing.  The reason I've stuck with this business for so many years isn't about the awards.  Nope - accolades and such are of little interest to me.  It is the rewards that keep me going on a day-to-day basis.  The happy clients, the problems solved, and the home sales closed and families moved.  Those are the true rewards for me.

Yep - we had our share of hurdles this month...  Asbestos remediation, bad calls by home inspectors, loan documents sent to the wrong lender in the wrong city (not by the escrow company of our choice, but another off brand, again showing the importance of using trusted services) - but we were able to get through it all and close the deals that were supposed to close and get the others ready for closings in the next week or two.

This Friday I'm leaving slightly tired, but brimming in satisfaction.  We sold 2 homes at prices much higher than the comparable sales dictated and closed the deal on the horse property for our buyers where the loan documents went awry.  We also sold a home that was previously listed with another Broker, but sold only after the client switched to the Best Homes Team.

My clients are happy, and that's the reward I'm striving for.

So to all - have a wonderful Memorial Day and let us not forget the sacrifices made so we can all live free!

Best wishes to you from Rob and the Best Homes Team

Best Homes Team is back with... Another Way of Thinking...

by Rob Northrup - Best Homes Team

Many of you out there have chided me a bit for not posting in over 1 & 1/2 years.  We've been busy & I've let the blogging slip through the cracks.  Well, now we've reached a point where we've finally slowed down a little.  It's been a great year for us, but we're at that rare point where all of our listed homes have sold.

So I'm taking a minute to get back on the blogging horse.  Sure, usually these things are about real estate or matters pertinent to one of the Crusaders Soccer or OLG School teams I coach or clients' matters or such, but I thought this one was kind of fun.  So we're back and here it is for all to ponder & enjoy.  Nothing about Fletcher Hills Real Estate, La Mesa Homes, Mt. Helix Events - just hoping for a smile or two.

Sent to me by my boyhood buddy & still great friend Dan Mashburn.


The Charlie Schulz Philosophy
(Scroll thru slowly and read carefully to receive  full effect)


The  following is the philosophy of Charles Schulz, the  creator of the 'Peanuts' comic strip.

You don't have to actually answer the questions.Just ponder on them.

Just read the e-mail straight through, and you'll get the point. 

1. Name  the five wealthiest people in the  world. 

2. Name  the last five Heisman trophy winners. 

3. Name  the last five winners of the Miss America pageant. 

4  Name  ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize. 

5. Name  the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress. 

6. Name  the last decade's worth of

World Series winners.


How did you do?

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. 

These are no second-rate achievers. 

They are the

best in their fields. 

But the applause dies.. 

Awards tarnish.. 

Achievements are forgotten. 

Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.


Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school. 

2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time. 

3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile. 

4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.

5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.



The lesson: 

The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the 
most credentials, the most money...or the most awards. 

They simply are the ones

who care the most

Pass this on to those people who have either made a difference in your life, 
or whom you keep close in your heart, like I did. 

'Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It’s already tomorrow in Australia !'

''Be Yourself. Everyone Else Is Taken!"




Best Property Title Story Yet!

by Best Homes
Many of you have asked why I haven't blogged in a few months - Busy? Maybe...  Disinterested?  Never!
So to satisfy your requests I'll pop a few out here.  Enjoy & call if you need real estate services!
Here is the best real estate title story I've seen in a while.  Maybe you'd have to be in this crazy profession to truly understand & enjoy this, but the story hit home for me.  Special thanks to Best Homes client & friend - Paul Hand - for uncovering this gem.
God and the FHA

You are going to love this case......... 
Part of rebuilding New Orleans caused residents often to be 
challenged with the task of tracing home titles back 
potentially hundreds of years.
   With a community rich with history stretching back over two centuries, houses have been passed along through 
generations of family, sometimes making it quite difficult 
to establish ownership. Here's a great letter an attorney 
wrote to the FHA on behalf of a client:

You have to love this lawyer too........

A New Orleans lawyer sought an FHA loan for a client. 
He was told the loan would be granted if he could prove 
satisfactory title to a parcel of property being offered as 
collateral. The title to the property dated back to 1803, 
which took the lawyer three months to track down. After 
sending the information to the FHA, he received the 
following reply.

(Actual reply from FHA):

"Upon review of your letter adjoining your client's loan 
application, we note that the request is supported by an 
Abstract of Title. While we compliment the able manner in 
which you have prepared and presented the application, we 
must point out that you have only cleared title to the 
proposed collateral property back to 1803. Before final 
approval can be accorded, it will be necessary to clear the 
title back to its origin." 

 Annoyed, the lawyer responded as follows: 
(Actual response):

Your letter regarding title in Case No.189156 has been received. 
I note that you wish to have title extended further than the 
206 years covered by the present application. I was unaware 
that any educated person in this country, particularly those 
working in the property area, would not know that Louisiana 
was purchased by the United States from France in 1803
; the 
year of origin identified in our application.  For the 
edification of uninformed FHA bureaucrats, the title to the 
land prior to U.S. ownership was obtained from France , which 
had acquired it by Right of Conquest from Spain . The land 
came into the possession of Spain by Right of Discovery made 
in the year 1492 by a sea captain named Christopher
Columbus, who had been granted the privilege of seeking a 
new route to
 India by the Spanish monarch, Queen Isabella. The good Queen Isabella, being a pious woman and almost as careful about 
titles as the FHA, took the precaution of securing the 
blessing of the Pope before she sold her jewels to finance 
Columbus 's expedition.
  Now the Pope, as I'm sure you may know, is the emissary of Jesus 
Christ, the Son of God, and God, it is commonly accepted, 
created this world. Therefore, I believe it is safe to 
presume that God also made that part of the world called 
Louisiana . God, therefore, would be the owner of origin and 
His origins date back to before the beginning of time, the 
world as we know it, and the FHA. I hope you find God's 
original claim to be satisfactory.
 Now, may we have our loan?"

 loan was immediately approved  

They all came out for a Little League Team,
Some had pretty good arms, others real nice swings.
‘Got drafted to be the coach of this swarm,
it’s over now; I’ll miss the boys in their uniforms.
They gave me chance to be again young, wild & free;
To work with these kids was pretty cool,
Yeah, if I was young I know where I’d be,
and what I’d do if it was me.

One of these days, they’re gonna have to grow up,
Gonna get real jobs & be adults,
Have to worry about things out of their control,
Like kids of their own, and getting’ old.
Yeah, one of these days…
Just not today…

(stolen & re-rhymed from Just Not Today)

And so ends another season of coaching little (and not so little) kids through the trials & tribulations of a sports campaign.  This was my first go-round with a Little League team.  Yeah, last year I managed a “Rookies” team in Fletcher Hills Little League, but moving up to the competitive “CAPS” division was a stretch that I hadn’t planned.  The “Rookies” level baseball I’d managed was entirely developmental; the kids’ games had almost no rules and it was a terrific learning environment.  Everyone was friendly and the spirit was one of mutual learning and building of skills for the kids.

And then came the CAPS division!  Holy guacamole!  Was I in for a shock! 

I thought negotiating the minefield of whining and crying and spoiled-rotten adolescent behavior was behind me.  Little did I know that the childish, self-serving antics were not outgrown with the step up in divisions, and we’d be forced to deal with tantrums and fits of rage so unbecoming that true adults could only shake their heads in wonder & disbelief as the paroxysms took place.  Those involved should have been ashamed of their pubescent conduct, but when improper behavior patterns have been allowed to develop, unabated and without consequence, for long periods of time these breaches in social etiquette and basic manners must be expected.  If allowed, bad boys will always be bad boys, and their behavior will worsen if unchecked.

Oh, wait - I hope you don’t think I was talking about the kids on the team!  No!  They were, save a few moments of true boyish impishness and frolicking, perfect gentlemen.  No – I was referring to the conduct of a few other managers – BOTH ON and OFF the field.  Horrifying! 

But this is about the boys, so I won’t digress (too much). 

As manager & coach, I'm proud to bring you the 2010 Rangers!

So, here I was, thrust into a managerial position, riding herd over 11 boys who I was certain, when I met them for the first time, God had sent to me as retribution for all my past and future sins.  I didn’t volunteer for the position - not because I was unwilling to donate my time or energy – the truth was that I didn’t know a lick about baseball and really didn’t think I could help the boys improve.  I’d coached a number of girls’ soccer teams to highly successful and even undefeated seasons, but I’d learned the year before in my outing as a Rookies’ manager that boys are NOT girls.  The maxim “boys will be boys…” was not unjustly coined.  So when the League came to me and asked me to take over a team I politely said “No.”  A week or two later they came again and this time, in a weakened state from rigorous soccer all-star practices, I buckled and said, “Maybe, but I’d rather not.” 

A day later I received was an e-mail noting that they’d assigned me a team.  No discussion.  No option.  Drafted to serve.

By my time of conscription the tryouts had passed.  I hadn’t seen any of the kids catch, throw, hit, or run and I had to make picks to fill a roster based on the limited information I had from memories of T-ball and Rookies.  The league required the other managers to provide me with their draft analysis sheets, which they did - on the faxes & e-mails the eraser and white-out marks showed clearly.  Some had players completely removed from consideration.  Later I’d realize those blanks said more in themselves than the names of the boys who’d been scratched.  Game on, 1st time manager… 

So the draft came, and the draft was indeed the defining event of the season.  Instead of allowing any one team to be stacked unevenly there were 6 teams of nearly equal strength created.  To the discontent of certain managers, a reasonable level of parody was achieved. 

And out we came!  To the practice field, All!  The Rangers were here!

The anticipation brimmed as the boys arrived.  I knew we had a winning bunch – there would be kids who threw laser-like pitches straight, hard and true.  Boys who crushed homers at will, speed on the basepaths and cat-like play in the infield.  Oh, it was going to be marvelous!  I somehow had built a vision in my mind that we had the 2009 Yankees roster.  We’d win the division hands-down, and we’d go down in the annals of FHLL as the greatest CAPS team to ever take the field.

Five minutes into our first practice reality set in.  Balls flew wildly past mitts that hadn’t been broken in.  Boys panicked and dove out of the way of slow grounders.  Pop flies landed on the grass with soft thuds at the feet of our players.  Massive bats bigger than Adrian Gonzales would ever swing came out of bags and found their way into the hands of 55 lb players.  My hopes and dreams were dashed!  We didn’t have a squad who’d win an effortless championship!  We had a group of 8-10 year old boys who needed work on their game.

When the practice schedule came out I remember thinking – ‘We don’t need all these days…’ but after our first practice outing I was convinced we’d never have enough practice time.  The dreams of hoisting the championship trophy quickly evaporated into a dream that we might develop the skills of these boys to the point that we’d score a few runs.  Winning was out of the question; survival of the season for the players and the coaches became the objective.  It came as a shock, but I realized we had work to do.

Really, it wasn’t as bad as I’d thought it to be.  This is where the thanks begin.  The gratitude for all the help cannot ever be completely relayed or adequately doled out; I’ll just throw it up where I can.  If I leave anyone out, please accept my apologies in advance. 

So thanks first to John Rodinec who stopped me from jumping to my death more than once this past season.  He’d been there before, and he assured me that it wasn’t as bad as I was imagining it to be.  His calm was the anchor that held the Rangers steady throughout the season.  John was steadfast that we had a strong core and the boys would learn as the season progressed.  Much of the Rangers’ success this season can be attributed to John and his imparting of wisdom upon this novice coach.

As this tale unfolds, please remember that I knew nothing of baseball.  Didn’t play it as a kid, and didn’t watch it as an adult.  So I most certainly didn’t know how to coach it.  I could teach kids 30 different wrestling takedown techniques or how to run a Wing-T or Power-I offense, but the basics of the Diamond were a mystery to me.  I could get the boys in shape and assert the semblance of discipline necessary to form the cohesiveness of a team, but conducting drills that would keep 11 boys focused was a mystery.  Baseball is NOT soccer, nor is it football.  There is not 100% player involvement on every play.  Keeping the boys attentive was a challenge.

John & Ron Teschler were instrumental in working with me on the setting up of practice stations and conducting drills for the proper amount of time to keep the boys interested.  The RANGERS were a … (how do I put this delicately?)… spirited group and keeping their attention was challenging.  John & Ron were both godsends to the boys.  I cannot thank them both enough. 

And thanks are in order to all who contributed.  Cori & Ilene did a marvelous job of coordination of off the field activities & duties.  Julio worked tirelessly in the scorebooth.  Harlan, Patrick, Robert, Alex, and Jason all contributed when called upon to help with warm ups & coaching.  Barbara and Liz and Rebecca and Angelica helped too with organizing the boys and the activities.  This was truly a team effort!  (remember too that Rebecca ran the snack bar all year – props to her!)  And let’s not forget Isidoro – a huge contributor until a flood at his home forced him to temporarily move & he couldn’t make practices. 

Thanks too to all for putting up with a 1st year manager.  If you saw the first practice, you know how far our boys came this season.  I’m far too humble to profess great feats of managerial prowess or terrific leadership or baseball knowledge – the Rangers got better because we practiced more often and longer than the other teams – it had very little to do with me.  So, thanks to all for bringing your boys out and dedicating the time and energy necessary to help the team as a whole.  If I knew more about baseball at the start of the season, our improvement would have transpired more rapidly.  Thanks to all for the commitment and patience.  The Rangers’ success was a result of our parent's involvement. 

Let’s get back to the boys now… 

We were a spirited bunch; full of energy, but, frankly, didn’t look so good as a team to start.  Yet, as John pointed out, we had a good core.  Hours were spent on catching & throwing, and the boys got better.  We had to restock the first aid kit, but the boys got better still.  After the throwing and catching reached a reasonable level we worked on ground ball & fly ball drills (and the first aid kit was again depleted), and we improved.  When our fielding was tolerable we went to the bats – it was tough on some of the boys that we never hit at a few practices, but we needed the work elsewhere – when we were ready we started hitting, and discovered our hitting wasn’t too bad! 

Preseason practice games started and, save a few bright moments, the boys were generally trounced.  But we were getting better.  We crammed practices in between the games and took all the batting cage time we could get.  Hats off to the Rangers’ boys for their hard work! 

Then it was upon us – the regular season!  The Rangers came out swinging!  The boys won the opener, and took 3 of the first 4.  Then the other teams realized the Rangers were for real.  The doormats of the preseason were implementing learned skills and winning games.  We started to see the best pitching the other CAPS Teams could bring out, and time and again the Rangers rose to the challenge put forth.  The boys came back from huge deficits to win, and even in the few losses they suffered they played exciting baseball.  The regular season ended with the Rangers snagging the #3 seed in the playoffs, and missing the #2 seed by 1 run scored!  

Heading into the playoffs, the Rangers were a team to be reckoned with!  And the other teams knew it… 

In our first playoff game we faced a player who emerged as arguably the league’s most consistent pitcher.  As an older player he was allowed to throw 75 pitches, and our boys saw every one of them.  But our pitchers matched him pitch-for-pitch, and when his pitch-count was up, the hit parade began.  The boys fielded well, hit the ball and walked away with an exciting first round win! 

The next game was to be one where our boys played tremendous baseball – maybe the best of the season.  We out-hit, out-hustled, and outplayed the competition.  The only thing we didn’t do was pitch.  The Rangers’ pitchers, so strong all year and the backbone of the team’s success, gave up 9 runs on walks or hit batters.  Our pitchers just had ‘one of those days’ as a group, and we fell.  No one was at fault; the pitching melt-down was a group effort and even with what had become a patented “Rangers’ Rally” we fell short.  The boys had too big a hole to climb out of, and despite a valiant effort, came out on the losing end. 

In the double-elimination format, it was now a ‘win or go home’ scenario for the boys.  It was also to be a ‘David vs. Goliath’ match-up.  The Rangers were to face the league’s biggest player and hardest thrower.  Some of our boys don’t weigh in at 50 lbs and the pitcher we faced was much larger - a terrific young man, and this year found the throwing motion that he’d lacked in prior seasons.  Inconsistent at times, this game proved to be one of his best efforts, and our boys were overpowered for 4 solid innings by a player 3 times the size of most of them.  But still they stood their ground courageously, and when Goliath ran out of pitches again the Rangers stormed back from a 10 run deficit to tie the game in the 6th.  Eventually our boys succumbed, but they provided us all with an extremely exciting game, and season. 

In the end our boys grew to be one of the top teams in the league.  We were 2nd in the regular season in scoring by 2 scant runs, and 2nd in scoring defense.  When our pitching was “on” we were unbeatable.  We turned double plays and made plays at the plate and on the basepaths.  The bottom line is that the job was done – we’ve got about ½ the team ready to move up to the Minors division next year, and the other ½ playing CAPS level baseball.  Our boys practiced the highest level of sportsmanship – we had numerous compliments from parents on other teams on the boys’ behavior and demeanor.  My apologies to our parents for the long & more frequent practices - if I'd known anything about baseball to start the season we could have advanced more rapidly.  It took longer, but we got 'er done. 

Lastly, my deepest gratitude goes out to my wife Suzy who waited patiently on many an eve' as I closed down the field and arrived home in the dark.  She gave me support at all times.  I love her very much and am grateful to have her as my wife. 

Thanks to all our parents for the opportunity to work with your kids.  I’ve ridden 25’ waves, paddled Class 5 whitewater, caught fish bigger than me, and skied perfect powder alone in the back bowls of the Bugaboos and more still, and nothing was as much fun as watching these boys grow and learn.  I rode the highs with them, and felt the pains of their lows.  It was an honor to be the manager of the Rangers.  I didn’t ask to do it, but now that I’ve done it, I wouldn’t trade the experience. 

Again, it was a pleasure and an honor to be a part of it all.  Hopefully memories were etched into the minds of the boys and lessons on sportsmanship were taught that will last a lifetime.  I wish each and every one of these fine boys the best in the future, as I wish the same for their parents.   

Rangers forever!  The games are over until next year, but the faces & fun will never be forgotten.

Best Wishes to all,

Rob Northrup

Just Another Soccer Season!

by Rob N





The 2010 Our Lady of Grace 3rd & 4th Grade Girls' soccer team! (minus Helena who couldn't be here)

So another season comes to an end. 

Another Undefeated Season I might add...

Coach Scott & I yesterday remembered back to a string of interesting e-mails from some over-bearing dads who notified us that anything less than an undefeated season for their girls' school soccer team was unacceptable.

You asked (truth-be-told demanded) - we delivered!

Now, really Coach Scott & I had very little to do with the outcome.  These girls probably could have done this without us, but someone has to go out there & yell at them for 3 hours a week at practice and then figure out where to put them on the field.  With the talent we had the toughest part of our job was to align the players in formations that might keep the score down in games.

It was fun, but going to the field knowing that we were a lock to win week-in and week-out took a bit of the drama off the season.  Coaches of other teams were amazed at our girls - we ran into 3 who came into the game undefeated and expected a walk-over.  Instead they witnessed a demonstration of speed, skills, and teamwork seldom seen in Parochial league soccer.

Our only true test was in the final game of the season when 2 of our most experienced players decided that a weekend skiing was more important than school soccer.  Unbelievable!  What could be more important than soccer?!?!?!?!

So our remaining girls took the field (while their go-to comrades were 'wushing & shussing' somewhere) on the final day of the season against a very powerful (and very large) team.  Our undersized squad used superior skills and exceptional toughness in wearing down their bigger (did they really need doughnuts as a halftime snack?) opponents to a level where they had no answer but to push, grab, bang, and knock down our fine young ladies.  Finally, after a few subtle reminders from the coaching staff as to the questionable play of the opposing team, the refereecalled a penalty and we were able to preserve a win with a free kick by Helena after a brutal knock-down in the box. 

1-0, and an undefeated season.

While the rest of the contests were never in doubt, this final game showed the true colors of our team.  Indeed it was Helena who scored, yet each & every player contributed to the outcome.  Ashley & Catherine fought the opponents at midfield, Halle and Hailey controlled the defensive end and did a wonderful job of pushing the ball upfield, the speedy Gianna made a stop from across the field on a breakaway by the opposing side and played through a brutal kick over the shinguard, and Megan and Ava were stellar in getting to the ball and pressing forward.  With injury & other commitments we were only able to field 8 players, but 8 was enough in this one.  It was hard fought soccer in a David vs. Goliath game!

Many thanks to all the players who contributed this season - not just those mentioned above.  Olivia, Katelyn, Kelsey, Ashlin, and Erin, while not able to attend the final game, were all an integral part of the season.  I must add, our competitive players were true ambassadors of the game through this campaign.  Many of the practices were remedial to the skills they've learned & what they're doing, yet they were gracious and helpful at all times. 

 Next year the 4th grade girls will move up to the Junior Varsity level and the 3rd graders will be back for another of these Pee-Wee campaigns.

Many thanks to the parents involved too (even those who put forth such lofty pre-season demands) - your support of your kids means the world to them.  We appreciate, as always, the honor of you entrusting your girls to us.

And finally, I wish to thank Coach Scott for allowing me to work alongside him over these years, both in our school and recreational campaigns.  We've fielded some great teams, enjoyed tremendous successes, and had a few heartbreaks.  I look forward to working together for years to come, and I'm already feeling the foreboding sting of the time when our girls will no longer care to take the field and allow us the joy of making this sort of difference in their lives.

As I always do in these posts - I'll remind all parents that these times are flying by us.  Enjoy them!

Off to the baseball diamond for me.  We hope to be back at this next year - see y'all then.

San Diego Storm Watch 2010

by Best Homes

With all the news on TV lately about the sub zero weather and snow that the Midwest and east coast areas are experiencing, we shouldn't forget that Southern California has its share of devastating weather also. 

The following photo illustrates the excessive damage caused to a home from a storm that passed through the San Diego area a few days ago. It really makes you cherish what you have, and reminds us not to take life for granted!!!  

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays from us to you!

by Best Homes Team

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to all of you from Best Homes & the Northrup Family!



Yep - we've all completed another trip around the sun.  Hard to believe, but we've spun around in a circle almost 365 times and taken another lap though the oval of our solar system.  Feeling dizzy?  You have a right to be disoriented!

Yesterday morning before work I was fortunate enough to witness the blood flowing from the wound in my shin, inflicted when the idiot-assed mesh that was on the Christmas Tree broke as I carried the Noble Fir into the house.  The obligatory 'fresh cut' at the base of the tree created a neat, sharp edge that cleanly sliced the skin and allowed my red blood to seep out onto the green of the needles.

How festive!  I'd created my own Christmas collage!  Red & Green together!  Ahhh, the joy of Christmas!

My wife gives me subtle hints that it's time to decorate: just before thanksgiving I find the outdoor lights placed where my surfboard once was.  Is this a hint?  Or an ultimatum?  "No surfing for you until the house is decorated..."  So it's out to the garage for the ladder and out the upstairs window to hang those pesky strings in my preset hooks.  I've got it down to a science; the lights go up in less than an hour.  Then, it takes 2 to 3 hours to get the buggers working.  (I'm looking forward to meeting the inventor of the 'icicle' lights, where one is out and an entire section goes dark - he'll be right there with the "Can you hear me now?" Verizon dork.  I've yet to commit a homicide, but meeting either of those two might put put me over the edge...)  The lighted lawn Reindeer rusted out last year and were sent to the big North Pole in the sky, but the snap-together snowman has survived to make it this season.

By the time the tree is up and the lights are on and my chores are complete I'm truly in the mood to watch some Holiday movies.  It's time to relax and enjoy such classics as 'A Christmas Carol', or 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas', or even 'It's a Wonderful Life'.  I settle into the couch after I've electrocuted myself, pinched fingers, and bandaged wounds, with the urge to play the stories backward so they have a happy ending.  You get it?  Scrooge stays Scrooge, the Grinch gets away with stealing Christmas, and Mr. Potter owns Bedford Falls.

Ahhh, the joy of Christmas!

But, in retrospect every year it's worth it.  I know that for every single hour I put in making the Holiday special for the kids and friends and family, my wife puts in four.  I appreciate her so much.  For the kids, this is a special time, and she makes it wonderful for them.  I try too, but can't hold a Christmas candle to her efforts.

I could go on with more drivel, but really I just wanted to say Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, or just plain Happy Holidays to everyone who is not too busy to take a moment & read this.

Happy New Year too!  Hang on tight & get ready for another trip around the sun!

Best to you all,

Clark Griswold

Another Season past...

by Best Homes Team

“The seasons, they go ‘round and ‘round,

and the painted ponies go up and down;

we’re captured on the carousel of time. 

We can’t return we can only look, behind from where we came, and go ‘round and ‘round and ‘round in this circle game…”


I’m not certain who penned those words first (I think it was Joni Mitchell, but my brother often intones the lyrics when singing at weddings for friends & family so I associate the clip with him).  The rhymes came to mind yesterday as I stowed my soccer gear in the shed after the completion of another season.  It was sad to put the plethora of balls, cones, cutting poles, speed ladders and other nonsense that I hadn’t even imagined owning 5 years ago away at the end of a campaign.  But, as Ms. Mitchell so eloquently advises, the seasons do go ‘round.


Sometimes my powerlessness in the passage of time overwhelms me.  There are moments that arise, become etched in memory, then flitter past us.  The wish that those snapshots of time and place could be stalled and relished in the ‘now’ is one of my life’s grandest quandaries; it is a joy to experience in the happening yet at the same time a disappointment that the elation of the moment as a microcosm soon passes.  Why can’t the simple joys in life last?  Too soon, we must return to reality.


And so ends another soccer season.


The 2009 Cherry Bombs



This was our 4th trip out to try to train girls in a sport that I knew so little about prior to having children.  In the what now seem to be ancient BK (Before Kids) days I’d always imagined the day when I’d coach my son’s football team to the league championship game or stand by the mat as my son pinned his opponent in the State championship meet.  I’d never imagined that my focus might be on my daughter and her cronies doing battle with another group of talented girls on a soccer field.  Yet here I find myself coaching a bunch of little girls to go out every weekend and give their all.


As we took the field in early August coach Scott & I were ecstatic about the prospects of another season.  Those of you who aren’t acquainted with me couldn’t know of my history; a broken back nearly 20 years ago and a hip degenerating from the resulting sciatica have left me somewhat immobile.  With better than a half-century of hard miles on this body my days in the spotlight are done.  I’ll never walk off the wrestling mat as a champion again.  No more interceptions or touchdowns to be scored on the gridiron.  I no longer yearn to surf the biggest waves Mother Nature has to offer.  Those things are for the young Turks – I’ve been there, done-that, and I walk with a limp and a stoop at too young an age because of the fun I had in my younger days.


I’m done – that’s a cold hard fact of growing older.  Yet perhaps with these young ladies I cannot only capture the feeling I once owned, but at the same time instill in them a sense of commitment that will allow them to achieve more than they ever thought they were capable of.  I had coaches who did it for me, so my goal now is to be ‘that’ coach these kids remember.  Achieving more; obtaining greater results than we ever thought possible – it goes beyond the soccer field.  It can become the fabric of life. 


Sure, it sounds corny as hell, but I know that today at least an iota of my resolve comes from my coaches in the past that inspired me to play through pain and fatigue.  Working harder and not accepting mediocrity is not an option for me; it is a mandate, infused in my identity primarily from my parents to be certain, but also from those crazed coaches who made me run the extra windsprints or work the takedown to perfection.


Well, when Scott & I walked onto the practice field for the initial time this season we found a team made up of about ½ of our past players and the other ½ new faces.  We’d lost a player who was probably the top scorer in the division the prior year, and also players who were lightning fast and had the tough-as-nails attitude that is so hard to find in 9 year old girls.  The new players were fine young ladies; just not as experienced as our departed kids.  When we instructed a player to play “left mid” and someone responded by asking “Coach, which side is left?” we realized the magnitude of the task that lay ahead for us.


That’s what makes all this fun - the opportunity to help these girls improve.  Sure, it was work, and we made them work hard.  I think two girls told their mothers after the first practice that they didn’t want to come back.  That’s my measure of a good start to the season.  Our girls will not be outrun.  So we ran to start the season.  A summer of relaxation was suddenly replaced with windsprints and tough one-on-one drills.  It was hot then, but we practiced.  Through moans and cries for mercy, we practiced on.  “My last coach never made us do this…” was heard often and fell on deaf ears.  Heck, I lost 8 pounds myself!  We were working hard!


As it goes with all teams, a personality starts to form as a unit.  To be certain, this team was not as experienced as our prior squads at the start of the season.  What Coach Scott and I noticed as the rust of summer was polished off the girls was that despite the lack of know-how with the ball or understanding of positions, we had a VERY fast group of young ladies.  We entered the season using that superior speed as our primary weapon.  The Cherry Bombs were fast!  Speed often overcomes lack of experience, and our early season success was a result of our girls capitalizing on their greater quickness.


After a first game heartbreaker of a loss by one on a penalty kick (and poor coaching choices), the Cherry Bombs rolled off four straight wins, outscoring opponents 17-1 over that span.  The girls in red played loose, fun soccer.  It was entertaining for all; parents were exuberant and the coaches felt pretty good too.  We were floating on a high induced by thoughts of soccer immortality.


Then, gravity took hold.  The flu hit us.  We had less than half the players at practices.  Our girls played a heroic game with numerous players out and others not even fully recovered from their illness.  Four parents came to me after the game and informed me that their daughters had fevers in excess of 100 degrees at kickoff.  Had I known, I wouldn’t have let them play.  Yet they gave it their all, losing a squeaker in a hard fought battle not only to their opponent, but also to illness.


Something changed in the team’s personality at the midseason point.  The young ladies that had outscored their opponents an average of 4 to .5 goals (that’s point 5, not 5) per game in the first half of the season inexplicably lost their ability to find the net!  The ‘Bombs went on a 4 game stretch where they scored only one goal.  Coach Scott and I conversed about this relentlessly.  How could the top scoring team in the division suddenly go so flat?  The girls were playing great defense, but they couldn’t score.


It was in the review of the video of the games I found the answer.  The old Japanese proverb states, “When the fish stinks, it stinks from the head.”  The Cherry Bombs’ problem was not with the players entirely, but rather with the coach.  Partially the players to be certain, but the inability to score was induced by coaching.  This may sound odd, but I think the girls began doing what the coaches asked of them at the midseason mark.  It has become shockingly clear – our girls started listening to us!


They started looking for the pass more often.  They started working on their cutting in the games.  Protecting the ball in the box was coached in practice and accomplished on the field of play.  The Cherry Bombs were doing what they’d been coached to do!  The heavens opened and the light shone upon them!  They were turning into soccer players!


There is a teaching that to be truly successful one must accomplish their tasks unconsciously.  The steps of learning go (1) Consciousness that one does not know how to accomplish the task (2) Consciousness of learning the task, and (3) Unconsciousness implementation of the skills to accomplish the task.  At the season’s start, our girls, as a team, didn’t know they didn’t know, so they just outran everyone and found the net.  But, with the coaches’ intervention and guidance we got them so trained that they worked too hard at implementation of what we asked that they lost that ‘unconscious’ ability to play.  That’s OK with me.  Winning on ability can only go so far.  Sooner or later skills must come into play, and if our girls’ working on skills caused a few lost games, so be it.  There was never selfishness to their play, but we could see the calculation of the moves in them.  In fact, they weren’t hogging the ball; they were over-passing.  Or working too long on their moves or positions.  The Cherry Bombs were stuck on step 2 above for a period of 4 games.


That’s why we’re here – to learn.  Step 2 is our purpose in this.  If we reach step 3 by season’s end, the campaign was a winner.  Our girls learned.  I think they learned more this season than in any season prior.  The girl I noted above who walked onto the field not knowing her left from her right walked off with one of the best outside cuts on the team.  In the first game of the season she was all over the field; by season’s end she played her positions perfectly.  She scored and played excellent defense.  Now she, and so many of our players, are turning heads at the All Star practices and games.


The final two games of the year showed we coaches just how far our girls had come.  We held our opponents scoreless and left the field demonstrating that we had achieved the final step.  The entire team played at a higher level, implementing skills unconsciously, thereby becoming not just a group of fast girls playing soccer, but rather a group of fast soccer players.


At the season’s end, we’d developed into a fearsome soccer team.  I wouldn’t have wanted to play a team like us in the season final…


Initially coach Scott & I had our doubts.  Between the early season flower fights and the announcements of Santa Claus flying overhead near the end of the season at practice we wondered if any of them listened.  One particular day when I was delivering one of my patented tongue-lashings about focus and effort the unabashed goofiness of this group as a whole came out.  One player started laughing, and the entire team ended up busting out in hysterics.  Scott & I couldn’t help snickering too, and the practice fell apart into a comical scrimmage with more jokes told and played that any focus on soccer.


That’s what I loved about this group this season – win or lose we had a ton of fun.  That’s why we’re out here; for the fun of it all.


So in my book it was mission accomplished.  The girls learned and we all had a real good time.  (I know, the grammar isn’t correct there, but I like the way it sounds)  We posted a 7 & 4 record, losing 3 of the 4 games by 1 goal.  The most amazing statistic of the season – we gave up only 3 goals in play all year.  3 in play goals surrendered in 11 games – WOW!  Unbelievable defense! Unfortunately we also coughed up 4 on penalties – something to work on next year.  I’m currently proud of the way all our girls are playing in the All-Star games.  The coach there has been impressed by our young ladies and noted it on numerous occasions.


We should all be proud of our ‘Bombs, individually and as a team.


In closing, I want to thank all the parents of the Cherry Bombs.  Your sideline demeanor was above & beyond expectations even through some unexpected situations, and your support of the girls made this a memorable season.  Each and every Cherry Bomb player gave it their all, and I hope we can all do it again next year.  Sooner than we think, the carousel of time will wind past this stage of our lives.  Most of these girls will grow up & out of this, so I cherish these moments.


Happy Holidays!


Coach Rob



It's that time of year again!!!

by Best Homes Team

Flowers are blooming, birds are nesting, the nights are getting warmer...

Spring is in the air!!!  And Best Homes was called on once again by one of our local schools to send the Easter Bunny in to put smiles on the faces of the kids.

The Bunny was, as usual, a big hit in leading the egg hunt on the soccer field.  The kids were thrilled with the celebrity appearance!

It has always been the pleasure of Best Homes to help where possible!  We wish you a safe, happy, and joyous holiday.  May the Bunny smile on you too!

To keep those who read the Blog happy...

by Best Homes Team

Hola to all those who follow our blog! 

OK - I've heard your displeasure with my frequency (actually lack thereof) of new posts.  Hey - we're busy.  We've got 5 escrows open right now, offers going on 4 other homes, and a myriad of other things going on.  I'm coaching soccer, coaching little league, we've been doing numerous of open houses, showing property...  yeah - we're busy here!

But to let you know that all of you who've been bugging me about a blog post have been heard, here's a quick one.  I'll do more next week.

This picture ws sent in by a past client, with the caption below it.  This is it for now - more next week...

'Dear Lord:
Thank you for bringing  me to Timmy's house and not to Michael Vick's --  AMEN!'

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Photo of Best Homes Team by Rob Northrup Real Estate
Best Homes Team by Rob Northrup
Best Homes Team CA BRE#: 00938658
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