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MARG-INS Game Changers
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What a whirlwind the last few weeks have been. Now that school is out and high school sports (other than summer camps and all-star games) have wrapped up for the year, maybe there will be time to breathe. Maybe even time for a little vacation ...

But first there are successes to celebrate, as the Class of 2011 at our newspaper group schools of Oakdale, Riverbank and Escalon have had their time to shine, walking in to stadiums or auditoriums with their gowns and tassels flapping in the breeze, hearing their name called and claiming that diploma that was 13 long years in the making, kindergarten through senior year. Congratulations to all the graduates for their achievement and all the best in whatever the future holds.

Personally speaking, I'm not sure who freshman year was harder on, my daughter or I. She learned what is expected of a high school student and how much more responsibility that carries with it than junior high; I learned the value of letting my child stumble and fall ... and then find a way to pick herself up. It was a lesson in letting go for both of us. The good news is we both survived and we also gained a little more respect for each other along the way.

The latter part of the school year was also filled with road games for soccer and one in particular stands out in my mind; not so much for the on field action but, rather, what happened later.

Making a stop for dinner on the way back from an away game, my daughter and a few of her teammates - still in their uniforms - were seated at a table eating while us moms were several tables away. What appeared to be another team of some sort - golf, I surmised, based on the matching polo shirts and khaki shorts - came into the restaurant and took up residence nearby as I went to refill my soda cup. I got my drink, turned around, and discovered that one of the team members had already moved in for a closer look. He had one foot propped up on an empty chair, elbow resting on his knee, chin cupped in his hand as he had a little chat with our JV girls. His teammates were leaning in as the conversation continued and I shot the other moms a look as I moved past the girls' table and tried to hear what the young golfer was saying.

When I got back to the 'mom' table we all just watched the scene play out, not really sure what was being said but definitely knowing when young golfer didn't get the answer he wanted and went back to his own team.

Later, my daughter confirmed they were golfers - from Hughson - and the one that approached their table just happened to be "doing a survey," as he told them, about whether any of them were dating at the moment and how did they feel about dating someone from another school?

Suffice it to say, our girls tamed the Huskies team member ... no takers on the long distance relationship.

On another sports note, perhaps one of the saddest text messages I have gotten in recent memory came in Wednesday morning, about 11:45 a.m. from 74499. That would be the San Jose Sharks. Yes, I am on their auto text list. Yes, I know, it's absurd.

Regardless, the text message came in saying "Thank you for all of your support this season!" (Sharks were eliminated on Tuesday night in the playoffs) and I just felt sad. We should have been going back to San Jose for Game 6. An icing that never was, a face off that never should have been. A goal that never should have been scored ... an overtime loss on a fluky goal when the Sharks should have won in regulation.

Too many shoulds and should nots. Vancouver is in, Sharks are out.

But at least I can look at it this way - which is the only way I can to make me feel better - the last time Vancouver was in the Stanley Cup finals was in 1994. Their opponent was the New York Rangers. That's about the time I moved westward from NY to CA and the team I followed in New York? The Rangers.

The Rangers won the Cup in '94 so I guess it would somehow be a poetic full circle for Vancouver to go on and win it after knocking out my Sharks. At least then they lost to the best.

Marg Jackson is editor of The Escalon Times and The Oakdale Leader and assistant editor for The Riverbank News. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.