It's not often everything feels right in the world and with the uncertainty of the world in general, finding escapes, even in high school sports world can give us a little reprieve from the day-to-day fears of the world.
For some, sports in general offers a diversion and such was the case for me last week when I had a chance to sit down with the new football coaches for Amador Valley and Livermore high schools.
Livermore? Sure it is not one of the two Pleasanton schools featured in this spot each week, but the new coach certainly has ties to one of the schools.
Danny Jones (Amador Valley) and Ryan Partridge (Livermore) are the new heads of those respective football programs. Both graduated and played at Amador Partridge graduated in 2002 and Jones in 2004 both were exceptional athletes in high school and college, and both have blossomed in the local coaching ranks.
Having covered and written much on both during their playing careers, it gave me a sense of pride to see them now running local programs. Partridge has worked for three years at Dougherty and Jones has been coaching at Amador. Both are giving back to the local prep sports programs that they benefited from when they were growing up.
Partridge turned in some big games for Golden West Junior College before going to the University of Kentucky and finally Northern Arizona. Jones ended his college career leading the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater to the NCAA Div. III National Title as the quarterback, scoring a pair of touchdowns in a 31-21 win over Mount Union.
"I've been here since 2010," said Jones of coaching at Amador. "I've always had the aspirations to coach here. For me it couldn't be a better fit or a better opportunity. The tradition is awesome and it's a place I want to be for the next 30 years."
This is turning out to be a meaningful year for Jones as he is also getting married to his fiancee Lanni Smith, a kindergarten teacher at Donlon Elementary School in Pleasanton on July 1.
"I think we have an idea of what to expect," said Jones with a laugh about his time commitment to football mixed in with being newly married. "Lanni is excited about Amador as well. She is pretty cool with it all."
For Partridge, taking over Livermore on paper seems a lot more daunting than Amador. The Dons are viewed as one of the more consistent programs over the years, thanks in large part to longtime former coach Rick Sira. Livermore on the other hand is pretty much near the bottom of the East Bay Athletic League every year. Fighting numbers issues and the defection of athletes to rival Granada, the Cowboys start behind the eight ball every season.
That's fine with Partridge he is up for the challenge.
"First, there is not always successful programs with head coaching jobs available," said Partridge, who will also teach at Livermore. "I am excited for the opportunity. We will have a clear direction of culture. It's going to be year-round football."
Jones sees it has a great hire as well.
"I think highly of (Ryan) as a coach and a person," said Jones. "I am very happy for the kids at Livermore."
The two have many things in common and spent a lot of time the last few years talking football almost every week. It is the common bond of having played for Sira that brought it all together. They started playing for the purple and gold and now they will be roaming the sidelines in the EBAL, running their own programs.
"It is something that is really special," said Partridge. "I think it is something that speaks highly of Rick Sira."