Friday, November 11, 2016

Miamisburg 28 Troy 21


Alas. All good things must come to an end, and this season of Troy football was more than good; it was phenomenal.

Just like the first time these two teams met up this season, this was a great high school football game between two really good teams. It was a shame (from my side of the field, at least) that Troy came up short both times, but it doesn't change the fact that both games were a pleasure to watch.

I won't go so far as to say this was a game that Troy should have won, but it was one they could have won. Both teams made some mistakes. If the Trojans could have cut theirs back, or taken better advantage of the ones the Vikings made, the outcome may have been different. That last is what the game came down to, more or less. With the score tied at 21 more than halfway through the fourth quarter, Troy recovered a Miamisburg fumble in their own territory and took it down to the 5 yard line. With four shots to make those five yards, Troy couldn't break through the Vikings' tough defense and get the score.

Really, if I had to boil the story of the game down to one element, it would be Miamisburg's defense. They were really tough tonight. The first time these two teams played, Troy gained over 400 yards of offense, evenly split between rushing and passing. Tonight, they could muster only 181 yards, just 82 of them on the ground. As good as he's been all year, tailback Josh Browder just couldn't find a whole lot of room to work tonight.

Of course, I can't say that without also giving major props to Troy's defense, which put in another incredible effort. Miamisburg's most well-known strength is its offensive line, anchored as it is by Josh Myers, by most accounts the top high school lineman in the country, and a Buckeye-in-waiting. Nonetheless, Troy's defense made them work for everything they got, and was able to keep their running game in check for much of the night.

So the Trojans finish the season at 10-2, GWOC North champions and regional semifinalists, in coach Matt Burgbacher's second year, just one year removed from being 2-8. The turnaround has been nothing less than shocking to me. I expected improvement this year, but I didn't see anything like this coming. Looking at the schedule before the season started, I thought 6-4 would be a pretty damned good season. The run they've made has been an incredibly pleasant surprise in a year that has been filled with a number of unpleasant ones. With a number of key players graduating and several others returning, I have no idea what to expect from them next year, but I'm already excited to find out. The future looks undeniably bright for Trojan football.

A few notes:

* After last week's game, in which Anderson ran approximately one million offensive plays, Miamisburg's more traditional, deliberate pace was a welcome sight. In theory, I like the uptempo offensive philosophy, but man, does it make for a long, slow game.

* I don't really miss Northmont in the league, but I do miss visiting their stadium, which I've always liked. I've been there several times, but this was my first time sitting on the home side. I'm still a little surprised that this game wasn't held at Welcome Stadium, but Northmont was a good setting.

* I've been following Troy football since 1991, and the Trojans have had some great teams in that time, including a poll champion (1996). Still, I've never seen them win more than one playoff game in a season. There was a stretch last night when I felt pretty good that streak was about to end. Although it didn't, I'm hopeful that the day will come.

* If ever the day comes when I finally decide to stop following the Trojans, it likely won't be because of logistical difficulties (traffic) or because the football isn't good. No, if ever I stop following them, it'll most likely be because I can no longer tolerate the behavior of people in crowds. The Miamisburg crowd booed the Troy band as they were lining up to take the field; the Troy fans who commented on this in incredulity, not five minutes later, booed Miamisburg's team as they came out. Who boos high school kids? Let the record show that I'm against it, even when it's Piqua. I'm also amazed by people who, even at a playoff game for a conference champion that wasn't expected to attain either of those achievements, will loudly yell things like "stupid" and "dum-dum" at their team's coach when they disagree with his decisions. And when such proclamations then result in an actual shouting match between a couple of fans sitting behind me, all I can do is roll my eyes and be glad it didn't devolve into an actual altercation.

Seriously. What is wrong with people?

Friday, November 04, 2016

Troy 41 Anderson 35


Wow. Talk about "survive and advance"; this game was pretty much a textbook example.

Considering that Troy went 2-8 last year and turned that around to a 9-1 regular season this year, it's hard to quibble with much that they've done. Still, one thing that has bothered me about this team all year long--I don't think I've noted it, although I should have--is that they haven't shown an ability to step on an opposing team's throat and really close out a game, even with a big lead. For example, they forced a running clock three times this season (Fairborn, Butler, and Sidney), but only finished one of those games with a running clock, because they didn't keep expanding their lead and couldn't keep the other team from forcing the margin back under 30 points. Also, against Piqua, they came out on fire and scored three touchdowns in the first five minutes of the third quarter to push the score to 37-14, and although the defense kept Piqua from scoring, the Trojans didn't score again either.

Now, I realize on one hand that in lopsided games you need and want to pull the starters, and that there's no real need to pile on and beat teams by 30, 40, 50 points. But even when the starters have still been in, big leads have seen the Trojans get sloppy--they can't run the ball to keep the clock moving, they turn the ball over, etc. That didn't hurt them throughout the course of the regular season, but now it's the playoffs, and it almost ended their season tonight.

It's funny. Earlier in the week I read on a message board someone's opinion that the closest comparison to Anderson on Troy's schedule was Bellefontaine, and then this game almost played out like the Bellefontaine game in reverse. It looked early on like the Trojans were going to absolutely roll. The defense was giving up some yards to Anderson but getting stops when they needed them, and the offense was absolutely gouging Anderson's defense and scoring more or less at will. I mean, Troy's first offensive play from scrimmage resulted in a 78-yard TD run from Josh Browder, who went over 100 yards within his first three carries on the night. Little did they know, though, that they were falling into Anderson's trap.

That may sound silly, but it's really true, more or less. I'm sure they would have preferred to avoid giving up so many points, but giving them up quickly worked in their favor. Anderson's offensive philosophy is uptempo to the max, snapping the ball pretty much as soon as it's set. They want to run a lot of plays and wear a defense out. Because Troy's offense wasn't keeping the ball for very long, the defense was on the field a lot. As the game wore on, they were visibly wearing out. They actually played fairly well, but you'd never know it to look at the stats. Actually, if you only looked at the stats, you'd think Anderson had won, and probably handily.

The second half of this game was nuts, and it was a combination of Anderson's philosophy and Troy's sloppiness with a lead that created it. When Troy scored the first TD of the quarter (Browder's fifth on the night), it made the score 41-14 in their favor, just three points away from forcing the running clock rule, something the Trojan fans were very much aware of and looking forward to. The fast-paced offense makes for a very long game, and a lot of people were ready to wrap it up and call it a night. But instead, that's when things got crazy. More concerned with running the clock than attacking for points, the Trojan offense was suddenly ineffective. Punts...turnovers...a lost onside kick...Troy's D was on the field for the majority of the second half (especially the fourth quarter), and Anderson just kept attacking. It was 41-14...then 41-22...then 41-28. After Anderson scored to make it 41-35, Troy moved the ball a little bit, but then QB Hayden Kotwica threw up a desperation pass toward the endzone on third down, and Anderson intercepted it on the 2-yard line.

In most games, with the opponent needing a 98-yard drive with just 3:42 left, you'd have to feel pretty good, but at this point, everyone on the Troy side was holding their breath. Troy's defense was just whipped, and with Anderson's offensive pace, the clock was not an issue. They were able to drive down inside Troy's red zone and appeared to score the tying touchdown with 1:10 left. I was actually relieved at that point, because it gave the Trojans a little bit of time to try to answer. However, the TD run was called back due to holding, and Troy's D had another "opportunity" to go to work. They stretched it out to 4th and 12 on about the 15, and then the 4th down pass sailed out the back of the endzone.

But...

There was a flag for pass interference.

It was a terrible call; the ball was well out of bounds and the receiver in the area had zero chance of catching it. Nevertheless, the call stood. But! One thing I did not know, even after going to games for 25 years now, is that pass interference in high school is not an automatic first down. Anderson did gain a few yards and another chance, but since half the distance to the goal line was not the twelve yards they needed, at least it was just one more chance instead of a fresh set of downs. They ran a quarterback draw. Troy's defense, with their backs against the wall, dug down deep and dragged him down a yard short of the first down with 20 seconds left.

Ballgame. For real, this time.

I have to say, I really admire the way Anderson plays. That offense undoubtedly makes for very long games (total running time for this one was right at three hours, for 48 minutes of gameplay), but it's an absolute nightmare for high school defenses, especially for any team with players going both ways. Their quarterback, Jay Volpenhein, aside from having a really cool name, was really impressive, making a lot of good passes, escaping pressure, running when he needed to. He's just a junior, so if they have any talent coming back around him, they should be in good shape next year.

That tense fourth quarter aside, the Trojans did manage to eke this one out, putting them at 10-1 on the year. It's their first 10-win season since 2000, which was also the last time they hosted a playoff game, and the last time they won a playoff game. Their opponent in that playoff game sixteen years ago was the Miamisburg Vikings, and they will also be Troy's opponent next week in the second round. Miamisburg, of course, accounted for Troy's lone loss this season, scoring a TD with 8 seconds left to win 21-17 back in Week 5. With the games now moving to neutral sites, I have to imagine they'll be paired up at Welcome Stadium in Dayton, but we'll find out for sure until Sunday afternoon.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Troy 37 Piqua 14


This one was a long time coming. Losing to Piqua four straight times makes each year feel like an eternity, especially when you realize that this is the first time Troy has beaten them since Steve Nolan was the head coach, and that we're on our second coach since then.

There was a great buildup to this game, for the first time in a while. It's been a rare season lately when Troy and Piqua were both good at the same time. To come into this game with the league title on the line felt like the old GMVC days. Which is appropriate, since Troy hadn't won an outright league title since the old GMVC days--1998, in fact, which was Trojan legends Ryan Brewer and Kris Dielman's senior season. (And, on a sidenote, if you had told me in 1998 that Troy wouldn't have another league title to itself until 2016, I would have thought you were absolutely insane...especially if you had also told me that Trotwood would be the dominant team in the meantime.) But the luster was back on this year for sure, as an announced crowd of 9,700+ piled into Piqua's Alexander Stadium on a beautiful night to watch this one unfold.

Mostly what I was worried about going into this one was turnovers, as Troy had gotten a little sloppy with the ball in their past couple of matchups, although it didn't end up hurting them in the end. The Trojans did end up turning the ball over a couple of times late in the game, but they actually came out ahead in the turnover game. They recovered a Piqua fumble on the opening kickoff and turned it into three points, which they then turned into a 10-0 lead that they would never lose. Piqua was able to run the ball pretty much at will in the first half (tailback Ben Schmiesing was an impressive runner), but the Trojans held on for a 16-14 halftime advantage.

Troy received the kickoff to open the second half, and they came out on fire and blew Piqua's doors off. They scored three touchdowns in the third quarter's first five minutes, and that was your ballgame, especially as the defense tightened up and shut Piqua out for the entire half. The way they ended up dominating their rivals was quite satisfying.

So! The series with Piqua now stands at 63-63-6 after 132 meetings. Troy has won the GWOC North championship and goes into the playoffs as the #1 seed in their region with a 9-1 record. That earns them the right to host their first-round game, which will be against the #8 seed, Cincinnati Anderson (7-3). They will bring with them a potent quick-strike offense and a porous defense, so it'll be something the Trojans haven't really seen yet this year. And! The game will kick off at 7:30, rather than the customary 7:00, so that's a bright spot for me.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Troy 35 Sidney 6


This win probably should have felt more satisfying than it actually did. To explain why, let's rewind to last year at this time. When Troy played at Sidney in 2015, the Trojans were coming off a stunning upset of the heavily favored, state-ranked Rams of Trotwood-Madison the week before. I didn't get to attend the game at Trotwood, so I was fired up when I got to Sidney, hoping the Trojans had learned how to put everything together and play some good, competitive football. Instead, I saw a good Sidney team take them apart to the tune of a 52-28 defeat. Given all that, you'd think that seeing them beat the Yellowjackets handily would feel like a little bit of payback, but it really didn't.

Primarily I'd say that's because Sidney has been decimated by injuries this year and is a mere shadow of last year's team. But it's also because Troy didn't play very well, at least on the offensive side of the ball. I could easily be mistaken about this, but it seemed like they were trying to work some different players into the mix early on, possibly because it was Senior Night, and things just never quite clicked. They had five turnovers (3 fumbles lost, 2 interceptions thrown), including a scoop-and-score on a bad snap in the game's waning moments that accounted for Sidney's only points.

But hey, they played well enough to turn this one lopsided by the time it was over, even if it took longer than maybe it should have for them to get there. Part of that was because the offense was persistent and kept playing hard even on an off night, and part of it was because the defense, on the other hand, played lights-out. Sidney's tailback, Isaiah Bowser, is one of the top backs in the conference, and came into the game with nearly 1,300 yards on the season. Troy held him to 51 yards on 26 carries, while at the same time forcing quarterback Dillon King into a 6 for 19 passing night, with four interceptions. Granted, those are the two positions where Sidney was hit hardest by injury, but Troy wasn't facing complete stiffs back there; they just made it look that way. So, yeah. A defensive performance like that can easily make up for an occasional off night for the offense.

There was one play that I wanted to make particular note of. On one of Troy's extra point attempts, the snap went high, and holder Jacob Adams had to go way up high to field it. Instead of trying to get back down into his crouch, he just bent over at the waist and put the ball down, where Jacob Anderson was able to kick it through. It's the second time this season I've seen him do it, the other (I think) being the Tipp game. It's just an impressive, heady play, and the kid's only a sophomore. So, props to him. Troy's kicking game overall has been a real strength for them this season, even though it kind of flies under the radar.

Next week the Trojans, now 7-1, travel to Greenville to take on the 3-5 Green Wave. I, alas, will not be traveling with them. There's one more regular season game on the schedule after that one, and you can rest assured that I'll certainly be attending my 26th consecutive Troy-Piqua game (dating back to 1992) on October 28. That game is shaping up to be for all the marbles in the GWOC North, just like the old days.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Troy 35 Tippecanoe 7




Welcome to the GWOC, boys.

This is Tipp's first year in the conference, coming over from the Central Buckeye Conference, upon which they had made a habit of feasting. In the past ten years, their lowest win total was 8. With all due respect to teams like Bellefontaine (who Troy played a hell of a game against earlier this year) and Springfield Shawnee (who Troy played in 2012 and 2013), the teams in the GWOC's North Division are, week in and week out, a little more competitive.

The main difference in the two leagues is the size of the schools. Troy has quite a bit larger student body than Tipp does, and hence more depth on the sidelines, and that really showed tonight. Troy looked like the better team in the first half, but Tipp hung in there, trailing only 14-7 at the break. In the second half, though, Tipp just couldn't keep up. The Trojans wore them down and pulled away with three unanswered scores in the second half.

This is a fun game, and I'm glad Tipp is in the conference now so it'll happen on a yearly basis. This was the first time the teams have played since 1985, which was before I was paying attention (I was eight). The two towns basically bleed into one another, so it's a natural rivalry. Troy got the best of it this year (and historically: the all-time record now stands at 21-2-2), but Tipp is a solid program, and I have no doubt that they'll have something to say about how the series goes forward.

With all that said, I was surprised by the (relatively) small size of the Tipp City crowd (which you can see in the second photo above). I would have thought that they would have had 31 years' worth of anticipation to see their guys have a chance to knock off the big boy on the block. Don't get me wrong; they brought a decent crowd (Troy's side looked, to me, to be filled in but not packed), but not what I expected. Maybe the threat of rain kept some people away. If so, too bad for them: it was an absolutely perfect night for a football game.

At any rate, now that the Red Devils have been duly introduced to their new conference, the Trojans, now 5-1/1-0, will travel next week to face a longtime conference foe, the Aviators of Vandalia Butler (4-2/1-0). I, alas, will not be there. My work schedule has me on the road next Friday. At the moment, the plan is to take in a game instead at my wife's alma mater, as the 5-1 Clyde Fliers host the 6-0 Edison Chargers. I'll be back on the Trojan beat the following week, when they return to Troy Memorial Stadium to take on the Sidney Yellowjackets.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Miamisburg 21 Troy 17

There are times--quite a few of them--when I wish I had access to some sort of wormhole or device that would let me go back in time and change whatever life decisions I would need to in order to be coaching high school football today. And then there are nights like this, when I watch my beloved Troy Trojans lose in a heartbreaking and controversial fashion, and then moments later I see Coach Burgbacher on the field being interviewed about the game, and I know he has to put on a positive face and say all the right things. After a game like this, I don't know if I could do it. Not five minutes after the final whistle, at least.

The controversy (those on the Troy side of the field would call it that, at least) came on two separate plays on the game's final drive. When the Trojans kicked a field goal to take a 17-14 lead with around two minutes left in the game, Miamisburg was out of timeouts. They needed big plays, and they needed them fast. They were making the plays they needed, but the clock kept rolling, and it looked like the Troy defense--stalwart all night--was going to hold them one last time. Then, on a tackle near midfield, a Troy defender was flagged for an illegal hit. Now, it looked like a perfectly fine hit to me, but it happened on the opposite side of the field, so it's totally possible that I didn't see it clearly. However, I will say that the game was a little chippy all night, with at least two occasions of Trojans being tackled by the head and their helmets being torn off without penalties being called. If you're going to let plays like that go, then I'd say that inside of a minute left in a tight game is not the time to start calling personal fouls. Then, on a play shortly thereafter (it may have been the next one), the Viking QB threw a pass toward the sideline, but Troy's defense managed the drag the defender down in bounds with fifteen seconds left. The official signaled for the clock to keep running, but then, inexplicably, signaled for it to stop. By the time another official signaled that it should indeed be running, Miamisburg's offense was already back at the line of scrimmage, where they clocked the ball to set themselves up for their scoring pass.

Now, credit to the Vikings, because their kids came up big and made the plays when they needed them. Maybe they still get into the endzone without those two plays going the way they did. Who knows? What I do know is that this was a hell of a high school football game for 47 minutes, but that last minute left a sour taste in my mouth as I left the stadium.

Now! Having made the long(ish) drive back to Columbus and using that time to mull over the entirety of the game, there were, overall, more positives than negatives. Miamisburg is a really good team. They've blown Troy out the past couple of seasons, and this year the Trojans were right there with them. The Vikings are known primarily for their offensive line, which has one member committed to Ohio State and considered the best in the nation, and another to the University of Cincinnati. And yet Troy's D really did a nice job against them. And last but not least, Troy's home stands were as full as I've seen them in a long, long time. It was fun to be part of a big home crowd again.

And really, it's hard to be disappointed for long. At the halfway point of the seasons, the Trojans find themselves at 4-1, after finishing last year 2-8. It's already been a fun year, and it's only half over (or maybe less--stay tuned). Now it's time for conference play, and it starts off with what should be a pretty cool matchup. The Tippecanoe Red Devils, also 4-1, invade Troy Memorial Stadium next Friday, the first time the two teams have played since 1985, which was before even I was paying attention (I was in third grade). Tipp is always solid, and I'm glad the Trojans have made it back to that point as well. I'm looking forward to this one.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

My Day(s) in Court


September has been a very busy month so far. To start with, we got the keys to our new apartment on Friday the 2nd. I'll probably write more about that whole experience at some point, but for now suffice it to say that this was not like our previous move, when we came to Worthington from Troy. That move was planned for in advance and we hired movers to take care of more or less the whole thing. This one...I wouldn't go so far as to call it an "impulse" move, but there was definitely less lead time, and thus the move itself was a little haphazard. We hired movers only for our large furniture; everything else, Brandi and I moved ourselves.

So that was physically exhausting and more than a little stressful, and it took up the entirety of that (long) weekend and the majority of the next. Sandwiched in between was our catalog deadline week at work. That's always my busiest time of each month, and this time around it was even moreso than usual. Normally a deadline week entails a two-day business trip to Toledo; this time, with everything else going on, I begged it down to just one day. Still, a one-day there-and-back makes for a long day, and presents its own issues.

Along with all of this, I received a notice in the mail a while back--late July? early August? I can't really remember--that I had been selected as a juror for the Franklin County Municipal Court for a two-week period beginning September 12.

This is the fourth time I've been called for jury service (which seems high to me, given how many people have never been called); the previous three were in much smaller counties (once in Wood, twice in Miami). In those counties, I was sent notice that my service may be required, and to call a number on a certain date to find out. Twice my service was not required and I did not have to report (I can't remember now if those were Common Pleas or Municipal Court); the third time (Miami County Common Pleas), I did have to report, and did in fact serve on the jury. That was in 2010.

Franklin County, which includes the state capital of Columbus, is a much different animal, and jury service works a little different here. There was no "call to see if we need you." The summons simply instructed me to report on September 12 for two weeks of jury service. And so that was what I did.

The first day was given over almost entirely to orientation. There was a questionnaire to fill out; the jury commissioner spoke; one of the judges came in and spoke; there was a video (maybe two...my memory of Day 1 is already a little fuzzy). Mostly there were questions, and most of those questions concerned various ways the jurors hoped the two-week timeline might be circumvented. In case you ever find yourself in a jury pool for the Franklin County Municipal Court, let me save you and Mr. Shields some time: there aren't any. If you get called for jury service, you will be there for two weeks. The only exception is that, unless you're serving on a jury for a trial that is still going at the end of day on Thursday, you do not have to come in on Friday. You will notice, for example, that I'm writing this on a Thursday evening, and my jury service is over. We did not have to report last Friday, either.

Of course, when you tell anyone you're on jury duty, especially if you mention that you have to be there for two weeks, the most common response is something along the lines of, "Ooh, what kind of case is it?" So here's how it works. Franklin County Municipal Court is, from what we heard this week, the busiest court system in Ohio and one of the busiest in the country. So when they call you in as a juror, that doesn't mean you've been assigned to a trial. It means there are so many potential trials that could begin on a given day (they put the number on the board each morning; it was anywhere from the 50s to the 90s) that they just need a pool of potential jurors in case any trials actually happen. The overwhelming majority of cases, however, are settled before the need for a jury comes about.

All of that is a long way of saying that, in two weeks (eight days) of jury service, I did not end up on any trials. No one in our group (60+ people) did. Four times, a group of twenty was put on standby. I was called in the first one of those, on the very first day. Three of those (including mine) settled before we were called out of the jury room. One group (in which I was not included) did end up being called into the courtroom to begin the selection process, but that case then ended up settling as well before it went any further.

It's worth mentioning here that jurors are paid $15 per day they attend. That's a pittance, really, but let's do a little math. I think there were 63 jurors in our group, so that's $945 per day, which adds up to $7560 total to pay us all for eight days of not serving on juries. So it adds up. And we were assured that it was our presence and readiness to serve that helped so many cases to settle, which in turn keeps the judges and courts free, rather than tying them up and costing even more money.

(I hope I conveyed that in a way that makes sense. It made sense as it was explained, so if it doesn't here, please blame the translation.)

So. If I didn't serve on any juries, how did I pass two weeks on jury duty? I'm glad you asked. Tom Shields, the jury commissioner, told us all on the first day that he realized that jury duty was a major inconvenience, but that they tried to minimize that inconvenience as much as they could, and I found that to be the case. In the mornings, we had to report by 10:30, but could report as early as 8:00. Once we checked in, we were free to observe the goings-on in various courtrooms. That was an opportunity that I, personally, did not take advantage of. The jury room was set up for wireless Internet access; since I telecommute anyway, and since the company I work for does not pay for hours not worked during jury duty, I went in early, taking my laptop along, and worked until lunchtime. Although my setup was less than optimal (at home I have a monitor in addition to my laptop, which really helps me work faster and, probably, better) and the WiFi would get a little spotty as the morning wore on and more and more jurors added their devices to the network, it worked out fairly well.

We were given ninety minutes for lunch. As someone who eats slowly and only gets thirty minutes when I'm working, that was a luxury. Most days I went over to the cafeteria at the Common Pleas court building, which is surprisingly good, and ate there. A couple of times, though, they offered tours of other locations, which took place more or less during the lunch break. Last week I went with a group to tour the Ohio Supreme Court, and earlier this week we went to the Ohio Statehouse. After lunch was when we were most likely to be called for a trial, but they usually had a speaker lined up who would come in and give us a little background on different governmental or court departments. We heard from representatives of the clerk of courts and the county auditor, as well as from the county recorder himself. One afternoon I joined a group who got to sit in on some small claims cases and then hear from the magistrate. Another day Mr. Shields demonstrated the jury selection software (we got to see the actual selection of a group of jurors for, I think sometime in November) and talked about how the process has evolved. The court dockets cleared for the day and they released us anywhere from around 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. each day. Then today, after we were done, we had an opportunity to go downstairs with a group of sheriff's deputies and take a tour of the county jail. That was an eye-opening experience, to say the least.

I'm not going to lie: when I first got the summons, I was pretty irritated, given that it was the fourth time I've been called. And when I realized it was for a two-week period, I nearly panicked, given everything else we had going on, in addition to my company's pay policy. But really, it turned out to be worthwhile. Would I have liked to serve on an actual jury while I was there? Well, sure. But it really was an interesting opportunity to get at least a small glimpse into the inner workings of the court, as well as a few other governmental agencies, an opportunity that most people aren't afforded. I was really struck by the jury office's determination to not waste our time, as well as how seriously everyone we came into contact with took their mandate to be fair and responsible with how their duties were carried out and how the public's money is spent.

Now. The one thing I wish I would have known going in? I'm actually not 100% sure this is supposed to be common knowledge, but what the hell--Mr. Shields volunteered the information without being asked and didn't say anything about keeping it close to the vest, and since I think it's useful, I'll put it out there. He told us that, once you get a summons for jury duty, you can call in and reschedule your service (I think it has to be done within three months) one time with no questions asked. All things considered, I would have preferred to move it back a couple of weeks or a month.

But hey, I got through it, and actually mostly enjoyed it. Don't get me wrong: I'm definitely looking forward to getting back to my regular routine. Working in the jury room in the mornings and then trying to keep up with my workload and make up some time in the evenings was definitely wearying. And don't get me started on the traffic trying to get downtown in the mornings. But I liked being downtown during the day, and of course I already mentioned the luxurious lunches.

Anyway. Getting the summons is never a wonderful feeling, but here, at least, really: jury duty, not so bad.