Game On – August 2023


Pre-Season Butterflies

    It’s the start of August. If I stand on the edge of my pool deck, facing ever so slightly southwest toward Miramonte High School, and if the breeze is just right, I can smell September. The fresh, pig-skin leather footballs released from storage bags. The overly chlorinated pool water splashed on hot cement from water polo practice. The slow-floating dust clouds as the cross-country team darts through the dry, turned soil in the orchard behind Paul Yriberri Field. The newly opened cans of tennis balls. The freshly cut wet grass of the Moraga golf course. Yes, even the abandoned ‘lucky sock,’ still standing alone in the corner of the locker room, unwashed after last year’s playoffs.
    I love it all.
    I can’t wait for fall sports to officially begin. It brings back countless memories of when my kids played high school sports. And even when I played, almost two thousand years ago.
    In the back of my closet, just past the out-of-vogue suit I no longer wear and the slacks which no longer fit, way, way in the back, is my high school football jersey. Every time I catch a glance of it, a Pandora’s box of memories and nostalgia are unleashed.
    Across the back of this Jurassic-era jersey reads ‘RE-MARK-A-BELL’ – the badge of a cocky linebacker who was half certain, when Jack “Hacksaw” Reynolds announced his retirement from the 49ers, he’d be getting a phone call from Eddie DeBartolo Jr.
    A thousand great memories and life lessons live on that hanger.
    In a nutshell, that’s my hope with this new column. To help make hangers. I want to create something which brings it all back. To highlight the amazing time in our young Orindan’s lives as they play local sports and to provide parents a positive trip down memory lane. Let’s make a tangible remembrance to glue in the scrapbook. Not a self-dissolving phone message or long scrolled past tweet. But an old school, printed in the paper, news clipping. Fit to be cut out with scissors and framed. Heck, scan it onto for all of the family tree to see long after you’re gone.
    That said, I’d like to hear about games I need to catch and which local sports aren’t getting the love they deserve? Who are the amazing athletes I need to know? Where is local sports history about to be made? Who is a great subject for my camera lens? Let’s hear it – I’m game.
    Let’s make this a two-way street. What big sports news is coming? I’d love it if you, the sports community, will be my ear to the ground. I’ll cover what I can. Find me taking in the warmth of the Friday night lights at Miramonte or simply email me.

Mark Bell can be reached at

(Mark Bell, Photographer)
Shiny and new, the freshly released 2023 Miramonte Matadors’ football helmet is ready to start collecting storied battle scars. Streaks of Campo Cougar blue on the left, gold Los Lomas Knights jersey string still caught under the snap on the right. Facemask dings from celebratory touchdown headbutts. It’s all coming. The Mats helmet redesign season officially begins August 25, home game, 7 p.m. Come watch.

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