Bought my first L lens (and 1.4 extender)
After MUCH research & deliberation, (and some of you here were very helpful & patient with me) I have finally broken down and ordered the 70-200 f/4 L (non IS) lens.
I know this is basically an entry level lens - and it ONLY costs $ 679 - but the reviews were stellar on this lens, and the item thats most crucial to me, AF, gets rave reviews. I'll use it mostly for shooting HS soccer & lacrosse, outdoor sports, and good DOF with a smooth bokeh are also what I'm looking for. The lens will sit on my trusty 30D (still chugging along) which is a great camera, until I can afford a used 60D.
I purchased a Kenko 1.4 extender too, the reviews were excellent on it and the price was good, so that will give me extra reach on bright days.
Thanks to all for the good feedback & advice.