Tag Archives: Sports

Soccer Summer Camp

For one week in the summer, Warren gets to spend time with coaches from the United Kingdom that AYSO brings over for soccer camp. Just hearing them speak is enough reason to sign him up. If only he’d come home with a British accent in addition to increased dribbling skills!

His coach this season was actually from Germany. He enjoyed “World Cup” and “Fox Chase Rabbit” games that Coach Dana assigned to the kids, even in the very warm sunshine. At the end of the week, he gave her a container of Trader Joe’s Cat Cookies, which she shared with the kids during break (ulterior motives behind his gift?), and a bouquet of sunflowers. All his idea to say thanks for a great camp experience.

This is the second year in a row that he’s begged to go to this camp. He’s already thinking ahead to next year. I suppose it’s officially a part of his summer activities now.

Move-a-thon

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Warren’s school has an annual fundraising event: so many laps completed equals cash for the school. Not a Jog-a-thon, like some institutions, but a Move-a-thon because any movement (dancing, skipping, hoola hooping, etc.) around the track is considered an acceptable form of pledge fulfillment. They even get T-shirts. It’s a pretty big deal.

I was so proud of Warren. In 80 degree weather, he ran around the course the entire 30 minutes without complaining. He even smiled most of the time. He was bursting with excitement the night before, and through the morning of, and I think it carried him all the way through the event. He finished 25 laps– hands down the most he’s ever run.

I love his use of red bandana (periodically dipped in the ice bucket) and proper hand positioning throughout, both courtesy of Colin. And I love how sweaty he got. Boy, can that kid sweat.

Too bad all of the pledges he received were capped at $10 or he could of raked in some serious cash.

Tracking the Boston Marathon

On Monday, Patriot’s Day in Beantown, Colin’s brother ran in the Boston Marathon for the first time. Since the race is ultra competitive, and qualifying times are required, we were especially impressed that Jared would run such a well-respected race.

We spent the entire morning following his progress. The official Boston Marathon website allowed fans to log on and receive emails about the runners. But the emails were at least 3 minutes behind and we needed more up-to-the-minute details. Refreshing the actual webpage was faster, so Colin served as command center as he texted the family updates of time and distance until the finish line.

We pictured him pushing on among the masses (27,000 started), wondered how he was feeling, and anticipated when he would hit “Heartbreak Hill,” continually sending good thoughts that he would go all the way. It was an exciting event, even all the way across the country.

Congratulations for finishing strong, Jared! We could not be more proud. What an accomplishment! We only wish we could have seen it live.

Thanksgiving 4-miler

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I did it. I ran the entire four miles without stopping. And it felt pretty good.

My time wasn’t stellar (42:50 as I crossed the finish line, though officially posted as 44:45 by the time they finally took my ticket). But it was a great experience. Now I know that I can actually do it. I can see now that I’ve not only been training myself physically but also mentally to persevere. Enduring to the end has taken on a whole new meaning.

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It was a cold morning for my family to come out to support me. But they did. I know cold is a relative term. Yes, some of the country was experiencing snow storms, but for here 40 degrees is cold. So they bundled up and waited for me to run by them at Mile 2. It was just the motivation I needed to keep me going.

The event ended with a toddler/kid race which consisted of running around in a circle for a lap or two. Maddie wanted to participate but didn’t quite know what to do. It wasn’t until a kind stranger took her by the hand that she finally started to move. Both Warren and Maddie got a medal and T-shirt for their efforts. Both were quite proud.

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Way back when I started training for this race, I came running around the corner to our street one morning and saw Warren standing on our front lawn waiting for me with huge smile. He waved at me and I knew at that moment that I was setting an example for him. I needed to be more physically fit, not just for my own benefit, but for his as well.

I think I’ve caught the racing bug. Anyone else want to run on New Year’s Day with me?

Soccer Practice

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I’ve mentioned before that Colin coached Warren’s soccer team this season. It was not an easy task.

Not because coming up with drills and fun practice games is difficult or because working with 8 little boys under the age of six is like managing a team of squirrels. It was because Warren had an absolutely rotten attitude most of the time.

I think it came down to this: he had a really hard time sharing Dad with the other boys.

Many practices went south before they even got started. He whined, he cried, he shuffled about in a surly, ornery cloud of discontent. And that was just as he stepped out onto the field. All this moping just to get attention. Unfortunately, it was mostly the negative kind.

At some points it was outright sabotage. He (playfully) would drag other kids down and make it hard for anyone, including himself, to concentrate. He used his natural leadership abilities for evil, not for good, and was at the center of many soccer practice mutinies.

He doesn’t appear to be super athletic, and maybe that’s part of the problem. It’s hard to put your heart into something you don’t feel you’re good at. But that would be OK if only he would try. Or at least not whine. You can get through just about anything if there’s no whining involved.

Colin had to strike up a deal with him in order to get him to cooperate with the agenda. No more running into the other players, or complaining about the assigned tasks, or taking pee breaks behind the nearest park tree every five minutes. (No joke, he claimed he couldn’t hold it long enough to wait until he returned home. It must be his preferred method of reclaiming control.) In turn, he wouldn’t be sent home or asked to skip the next practice.

But I gotta hand it to Colin. He did not throw in the towel. He has been patient and helpful even at his peak of frustration.

It’s now the end of the season and after many, many discussions we’re seeing real progress. Finally. He participates with minimal complaints. He tries to get back in the game, even when he gets hurt. He refrains from using the “hiking bathroom” for the full 60 minutes.

The other day he asked if I would coach his soccer team next season. Or if I could at least help Dad. I was shocked! As much as that touched my heart that he would even consider me, the idea seemed daunting. I told him I was a little scared to take up the job. Would he be helpful? Would he try his best? He assured me that he would.

We have another full year to see if he remembers that he’s turned over a new leaf.

Black and Blue

But thankfully not broken. Colin played his normal Tuesday lunchtime soccer game and wound up with a sweet ankle injury. It happened at the very end of the game, of course.

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He returned to the office. Some ice and 800mg of Ibuprofen later it still looked pretty bad.

His co-worker and fellow soccer comrade drove him down the street to the clinic to get x-rays. The doctor ruled out any serious injuries– no breaks– and sent him on his merry way with an air cast. He told him to walk as normally as possible on his foot. Easier said than done.

Colin thinks it’s been about 15 years since he’s twisted his ankle this bad. Guess it was time for another incident. More war stories to share, I suppose.

Today it was feeling, if not looking, better. He even thinks he might bike home tomorrow. He’s no wuss, that’s for sure.

Let’s just hope that it heals completely before our trip to Mexico in December.

The Big Lie

I love exercising. I love to run. I feel full of energy and one million times happier when I exert myself. I am not lazy.

These are the lies I am telling myself to get my butt in gear so that I can live past the age of forty. Otherwise, it was looking pretty poor. I had done almost nothing the last three years to be physically fit and I was really starting to feel it. I decided I needed to take action. Right away.

For almost three months now I’ve been jogging in the early morning (that’s 6:30AM, baby!) with my good friend, Gina. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (give or take a few days) I’ve been hitting the pavement before the kids wake, before breakfast, and before the sun is completely risen.

When I started this routine, the going was difficult. Not to mention how much I detest rising early, my body showed in no uncertain terms how out of shape I was after so many slothful years. I would half trot, half walk to the nearby high school to meet her where the most I could do was walk briskly around the track for half an hour, and push myself to finish with a 2-lap sprint. Panting heavily, I had to walk back home and literally crawl through the front door.

But I’ve already come a long way. Both of us have. Now, I run the half-mile to the high school without stopping, run around the track at least 6 laps (Gina’s doing 8), and then run all the way back home. The other day I ran a mile in 9 minutes 58 seconds. I feel like I could keep going but the morning schedule doesn’t allow for it.

I know that may not seem like a big whoopydoo to you amazing runners out there, but I needed to start somewhere. This has never been my sport. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever completed a mile running before. Even for the P.E. test in Junior High, I’m sure that I walked most of the way, am I right Kelley? Being that my previous life’s motto was “I only run when someone is chasing me,” I feel that this experience has been a positive move forward. I’m making progress.

But I knew the lies were only going to get me so far. I knew I needed something else to motivate me to get my rear out of bed and get out the door every morning. I needed to make myself accountable. I also needed some serious external motivation.

So, I’ve decided to enter a short race, The Thanksgiving 4 miler held on Turkey Day. Again, I realize this is small beans, but it’s something. My only goal is to jog/run the whole way. No walking. I think I can do that now. I think.

And maybe the lies are actually becoming truth– to a certain extent. I don’t feel completely energized after exercising, nor have I experienced that “runner’s high,” but I do feel really satisfied. Mostly because I set a goal and I’m meeting it. And it’s getting easier to do. Even if it’s raining, I still get out to the garage and use the elliptical machine that used to sit collecting dust. I don’t love running, but I don’t hate it anymore. I get into a groove where I can zone out. I move at a pace that doesn’t make my side ache or shorten my breath to the point where I want to puke. I look around at the gorgeous misty mountains, take in the first hint of sunshine, inhale the smell of rubber on the fancy high school track, feel the steady thump of my feet hitting the ground. It’s time I’m taking just for me and it feels pretty good.

Local friends, what are you doing Thanksgiving morning? Who’s with me?

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I’d love to hear your running experiences and any advice you may have.

Game 1: Scorpions vs. Blue Dragons

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Soccer season has begun. Warren’s first game was against the Blue Dragons. Five- and six-year-olds are just as much of a hoot to watch as 4-year-olds. Except this time they seemed to be more aware of what was going on. At least enough to prevent an “own goal.”

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Colin is the coach this year. Not exactly by choice because we feared Warren might not have the best attitude when he has to share his dad during practices and games (and sometimes those fears are realized), but overall it’s going well. He’s enjoying the role. Since AYSO requires enormous parent participation, it was hard to get out of the assignment. After all his soccer experience, Colin seemed like such an obvious choice. But really, no one else was stepping up to the plate so “Coach Colin” he became.

Here’s a great example of the “Coach Dad” effect. We’re pretty sure Warren wouldn’t have displayed such a surly moment such as this (head buried, belly-down on the ground) if another coach had told him he’d have to sit out the first quarter. Thankfully, it was a short-lived reaction.

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Other than that, Renny did pretty well his first game. He is more a part of the action this season, but mostly just to hover around. He doesn’t often make contact with the ball. Still a little nervous to be hit, we suppose.

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Mostly, he still prefers to be a casual observer. One who gets easily distracted by the miscellaneous.

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Or who breaks into dance spontaneously.

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But no matter what, Maddie and I were there to cheer him on. The game coincided perfectly with her nap time. Glorious. So perhaps her screams were less cheers for the team than were mine.

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We’re proud of Warren for trying his best. He’s really grown a lot in the sport.

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All kids were still having fun by the end of the game. What more could you ask for? The team huddle ended the game with three cheers for the Blue Dragons and snacks by the sidelines.

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A great start to a new soccer season.

Note: The banner (pictured above) was a joint effort between yours truly, Colin, and another mom on the soccer team. Colin drew an outline of the scorpion, the other mom and I spray painted the fill-in colors, and then Colin outlined the final image with the fattest Sharpie pen I’ve ever seen. The title and soccer balls were iron on transfers I created on the computer. I think it turned out pretty cute, but let me tell you, creating it was a process. Wow.

Soccer Camp

We told Warren that he could go to one summer camp of his choosing this year. Surprise, surprise he chose soccer. I suppose The World Cup games and Colin’s devotion to the sport had something to do with it. “Mama, I want to go to soccer camp this summer so I can learn tricks!” he announced with finality.

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AYSO sponsored a camp led by a group of young men from the United Kingdom. Warren had Bradley for a full week of soccer games and silly drills. Those English guys must have brought their weather with them because every day was cloudy and gray. Didn’t seem to phase the kids, though. Warren had a blast running around, especially since his best friend, Justin, attended camp too. Even his skill level improved greatly in just 5 days. Top the whole thing off with a T-shirt signed by his coach and he was a happy camper.

Soccer Season’s End

Season 1 of Warren’s soccer career is over. It flew by too quickly, although it is nice to have our Saturdays back. There were some definite rough patches of “I don’t want to play!” and “Dad, I’m too tired to run!” but in the end, he came out kicking. He really improved this season. He went from standing still on the field while the ball and his teammates moved around him, to running along with the crowd, to actually making (deliberate) contact with the ball. The last game he had one assist. We’re so proud of all his efforts.

We celebrated with a team pizza party and an informal trophy award ceremony. A great end to a great season. Go Sea Dragons!