Archive for the ‘sports’ Category

problem solving

18 February, 2018

yesterday, (after a morning of chores, room cleaning, projects-with-parents, math music and reading) the childrens biked by themselves to the park. I followed along, walking, and was happy to see they were using good street crossing. They zipped around on the path for a bit, whilst I talked with my mom, and then wanted to bike through woods.

In the woods, they took the path less traveled, and had to cross a narrow bridge made from a couple of 4x8s. I asked how they did it. Teamwork. I wish I had been there to watch. I’m very proud of them, working together, without a parent around.

…and other stuff from yesterday…

Me and MrCuddles are very similar. Lots of interests and lots of projects, which leads to disorganization. Yesterday, I suggested to him, “since we are so much alike, we can help each other get organized.” He was happy to help me organize a bit, before he went to a sleepover.

MsSqueaky is inventing a math game, to help MrC with his multiplication. She told me she was surprised she got the highest grade possible in music. I told her I wasn’t, because she sounds good, and I have been surprised how quickly she is making good sounds. And she went off to a sleepover.

MrGrunty, the boy is in a “i don’t wanna do anything (except play on computer)” phase. He was very much against the family bike ride, but I forced him, and after a few minutes was very happy running around and playing with his siblings. He had fun biking at the park. I set up a play-date with one of his best friends from soccer. We brought a basketball and a couple soccer balls. I went to read, Esperanza Rising, while they played one on one. Soon, I saw they they were a team against another pair of boys. After an hour of play, MrG told me “that was fun”. Then they shot goals against each other.  Then back home to play Xbox soccer & football. Then back to Matthew’s, where I got caught up in watching a KingArthur movie. Yup, much better than letting him mope around all day.




Russell Westbrook MVP

8 April, 2017

Hey Sports Fans,

all I gotta say is Mr. Russell “Triple Double” Westbrook is this year’s NBA Most Valuable Player.


catching up with 2016 – Halloween

18 March, 2017

Oh yeah…the past year.

A few days before Halloween, MrCuddles had his last game of the season. The field was horrible, there were holes in the field, most of the grass was torn up, mud everywhere, an inch of standing water on most of the field, conditions so bad the players couldn’t pass, dribble, or shoot. Awesome! Field conditions took away every advantage the other team had. And by random chance, somehow (also with the help of Andre defensively kicking a ball out of bounds) we managed to either have a tie game or even a win. First time this season. It had been rough for our better players and/or players that cared, because our team was terrible. (One poor kid, he had five shots on goal one game, and missed everyone of them by a few inches.)  MrCuddles…he participated in all practices (I was assistant coach), he participated in games (sometimes he was WAY off-sides, he said it was so he would be ready to shoot a goal), he had a couple decent dribble drives up the field, a couple decent shots on goal. I think it was successful for him. I mostly had fun as assistant coach.

The past Fall 2016 Soccer for MrGrunty & MsSqueaky… a lot of mud. One game, I feared MsS got emotionally broke, because her goalie was barking out orders to her, and she took it personally, and refused to go back in saying “it’s too muddy.” Another game, on a turf field, (which was against a coach who was trying to micromanage individual players, like playing Nintendo, during the game, “Courtney two yards left! Susy ahead three yards then turn right!), MsS was beast goalie of the game, only got scored on once, she had a couple easy stops, but once she had to be brave and put her face down in the zone where players were kicking. MrG…working better with teammates, got a couple of assists, got some goals, using his left foot. But what I liked about his season, he is really excited and joyful when a teammate gets a goal, but when he gets a goal, he’s more laid back and business like.  The WORST part for me… picture this, you arrive to the field early Sunday morning, soon, all the team is there, you look around, proud, well organized, some grandparents are there too, people happy for early game, easier parking, plans for later in the day. Did I mention one of the grandparents was in a wheelchair? And the weather was alright too. Wait a minute. There are six fields, and we are the only team here. What? Check schedule that I printed, yes… quick (actually slow) internet, phone call to opposing coach, who said, “oh yeah, weird stuff has been happening with the schedule, the game is this afternoon.” That is embarrassing.

Halloween 2016. The childrens had the day off, and I was lucky enuff to spend it with them. (Seems the teachers take a Monday off every month for paperwork, training, catching up, meetings, planning. OK by me.)  We headed North, to a corn maze. The place was, VERY muddy. But we basically had the place to ourselves. MsS lost a boot, she sank so deep. I just threw away my old shoes when I got back home. We had the place to ourselves. The childrens wandered off around the kids corn maze, which I got lost in. There was a rope maze, so you could see everything, but had to follow the maze. MrC finished first. MsS got super mad at finishing last. We picked out some pumpkins. For trick-or-treating that night MsS was a warrior, MrC was a soccer player, MrG …well, I tried to turn him into a mummy, but he ended up looking like a kid covered in rags and he didn’t like it. They went out with a bunch of their friends. (I went to work that night, because, sometimes, you gotta go back to work.)


Kyrie and the Flat Earth

20 February, 2017

Hey SportsFans…evidently Kyrie Irving said he believes the earth is flat at an NBA All-Star press conference. OK…lemme see… uh… this is the best explanation for Kyrie’s Flat Earth:

LeBron: “Hey Kyrie”
Kyrie: “Yes boss”
LeBron: “You know how the media is, and how they are gonna keep hounding us about Kevin’s knee?”
Kyrie: “Yes sir”
LeBron: “That could get to be a distraction to the team”
Kyrie: “But he is injured…”
LeBron: “I need you to set a screen. Let the media talk about something else for a while”
Kyrie: “Like what?”
LeBron: “Be creative, didn’t they teach you that in college?”
Kyrie: “Well, I guess…”
LeBron: “Kyrie, and remember what our goal is”
Kyrie: “To win you a champion….”
[LeBron clears his throat.}
Kyrie, hurriedly, “…I mean, we are here to bring a championship to the great people of Cleveland.”
[LeBron smiles]
Kyrie, “Thank you for this opportunity, Sir. Please don’t trade me to Minnesota.”




LeBron: “Kyrie”
Kyrie: “Yes Sir?”
LeBron: “For real?”
Kyrie: “I did what you said.”
LeBron: “I need my point guard to be intelligent.”
Kyrie: “But…what could I have…”
LeBron: “Punched a mascot, like Rodman. Spilled a soda on the floor, like Kidd. Claim to have slept with 10,000 women, like Wilt. Bitched about the refs, like Cuban…”
Kyrie: “But if I complain about the refs, they might fine me a couple thousand dollars…”
LeBron, shaking his head, calls out: “Yo Kev, what’s the Winter heating costs in Minnesota?”
Kevin Love: “Please don’t send me back there! I’ll be fine by the second round of the playoffs. I promise. I’ll come back like Mr Reed did in ’70.”
Kyrie: “who’s Reed?”
LeBron, glowering at Kyrie: “Read. A. Book.”
LeBron turning to Kevin: “You played with Westbrook at UCLA, what do you think?”
KevinLove: “Sir, I don’t think Westbrook would fit in with the Cleveland system. If I may, Sir. How difficult is it to be a point guard in the Cleveland System? The density of your play warps space time to make it easier to get assists, by passing to you, or have an open three because you’re double teamed. And…”
LeBron: “You just make that up? That space-time thing?”
KevinLove: “No sir, been think about it a while. I was reading books, like you told me to, and I was reading Stephen Hawking, and…”
LeBron: “It’s stupid.”
KevinLove: “I’ll never mention it again. I forgot, this team is not about any one player. We are here to win a championship for the wonderful city of Cleveland.”
KevinLove, thinking: [So glad I didn’t say it at a press conference.]

Last weekend

1 October, 2016

soccer, MrG and MsS had mirror image shots, where it the ball clanged loudly off the goal post. I am happily finding out that MsS has gotten better at soccer since last year. When/How? I dunno. MrC…so much fun watching him, he’s getting involved, being assertive, learning.

Teaching Bible class to a new young group (…I’m learning that all my tricks that I used for my fifth grades, that I spent several year teach…well, I need new tricks.)

But…my favorite part, MsS told me as we were picking beans at the local farm. “I didn’t want to come here. I’m glad we did. I really like harvesting.”  We also picked corn, zucchini, chard,…



12 September, 2016

The girls left us boys alone this weekend…so its time for shenanigans stories.

I’m the assistant coach for MrCuddles soccer team. (Because he asked, and then pointed out that I had coached MsS and MrG two seasons each…sigh, kids with their memories and sense of fair.)  We showed up to our practice and… hundreds of people were there for another scheduled event. So, we had less space, and I was more stressed about being in the way, and the boys, were boys, and kicking the balls all over, and not really listening, and the head coach got to hear me mumble swear words under my breath.

Back home, dinner and a movie!  They watched “Zootopia” again. I like the movie, it’s well crafted.

Saturday… MrCuddles first soccer game of the season. And, I’m happy to say our team did alright. Nobody got cleats in the face, because that’s what our boys do, handstands…just because, usually when people are close to them, or during a scrimmage. We did get plenty of handballs called against us. Srsly, I tell them in practice, do not touch the ball with your hands, the soccer ball is radioactive. MrCuddles, he was sorta engaged, and actually a couple of times was paying attention and playing. (Huge improvement over two years ago when he just refused.)  He even got the ball on a breakaway, and dribbled down towards the goal, solo, and took a shot.

Saturday afternoon, we did a few chores, then went to see “Kubo and the two strings”. I enjoy listening to MrC and MrG play with each other, usually they don’t, usually it’s MrC and MsS. MrC’s BFF came over, and all three played.

“Kubo and the two strings”. Great movie. It’s beautiful. Well told story. Good music. Go see it. I hope to see it again soon.

Note: MrG has been helping out at MrC practices. We have him ref-ing the scrimmages. He helps with drills. He asked during a drill, “should we run from the other side, so they get practice shooting with their left foot?” YES, absolutely, so glad you thought of that.  I think he’s gauging his defense on the players by their skill level. Because we, like every team have a large variety.

Church…it’s funny, because MrG didn’t want to go, as usual because “I don’t have any friends are there”. AND, I’m told by her mother, that MsS BFF didn’t want to go because MsS wouldn’t be there. And yet, two hours after worship was over, all the kids were still happily playing together. Yeah, we were there two hours after, because I was chatting with other parents…good to know my kids are normal. Good to know of what challenges are on the way.

MrG had his first games of the season…three short games. He always seems to look for the pass. He has good footskills. It was a nice day for soccer, and the parents, most of who we have known for a couple years, are a good bunch to hangout with. I guess we start keeping score now, (although the kids have been keeping score since we taught them how to count). First game we did well, second game was even, third game we didn’t do so well. But all three were close-ish. So that’s good.

Oh yeah…MyBetterHalf and MsS…they went to a GirlScout leader-daughter camp. Slept in a chilly open air cabin, and were back home Sunday afternoon. MsS was tired.



soccer coaching

25 August, 2016

On the way to soccer practice yesterday, I was very excited, and praying that traffic would be kind enough for me to go nine miles in 45 minutes.

After soccer practice,  was hoping that I didn’t just [bleep] up.

I didn’t want to coach, but MrCuddles was kind enough to point out, “you coached MrG and you coached MsS.” So, I’m coaching a bunch of seven year olds. Well, lucky for me I’m the assistant coach.

Recently we were talking, MyBetterHalf told MrG …maybe he could be the assistant coach. MrC, who has been listening to me, piped in, “then you would have to make the coach coffee.”

(Also, as another sign they do listen to me sometimes, the other day was playing basketball w/ MrG, the ball went bouncing over the side rail of the deck, and deadpan MrG says, “should’ve dove for it”.)


I’m getting too old for this

17 July, 2016

So….woke up leisurely…tried to figure out where we would be blueberry picking today.

Then rushed MrG to a his friend’s church. Rushed to our church.

Our youth intern, on her way to seminary in South Carolina, preached on the text of Jonah. Part that stuck with me, when Jonah was pissed that the tree died, God said, “you did nothing to make it grow.”  That has recently happened to me, grumpy about a change that I had nothing to do with.  (MsSqueaky’s soccer coach is stepping down, because his daughter is going to dance instead. I’ll miss him, he is a great coach.)

We took A with us, and rushed off to pick up MrG and his friend. I need to spend more time with A. He is a boy, who is filled with joy. I love listening to his laugh. I hope that first grade doesn’t dampen his attitude. We picked for a bit, then rushed to take MsS to a birthday party.

Home…A & A got picked up…and MrG went off to a BBQ. Then MyBetterHalf (she ran a race this morning) took MrCuddles, I had a few minutes of quiet to read. Nope, no chores.

MsS, MrC & MBH returned, and my daughter was pissed because she didn’t want to leave her friends. In a bit, she and MrC were painting outside. (A great day to paint, well, if you want the paint to dry quickly, that is.)

Then we rushed off to pickup some friends for tennis.

MrG eventually joined us.

MrG…playing in flip-flops…was doing some good hits with Kev-the-tennis-player.

Had fun serving to MrC, he was even returning some back to me!

My favorite part of the day, MsS had to go potty, we went looking…had a nice chat on our walk. Need to do more one-on-one walks with the childrens. She didn’t want to play tennis, but instead was playing by herself on the playground: that she was a vet, and she came from work, she had two kids, and lived in a mansion, and there were two guest rooms, and there were even a couple secret rooms in her mansion. She says she likes watching baseball now, because she learned to like it watching her brother play.



14 July, 2016

from time to time, we play tennis with MrG friends. One of the dads played for a local college team, really loves tennis, will plan vacations to go see tournaments. He’s great, we are no where near a challenge for him, unless the challenge for him is get all the terrible returns we somehow send kinda into his side of the court, and return them gently back to us, the ball just barely over the net, bouncing right near us easily so in theory we have a decent chance to hit the ball back in his general direction.

He’s very encouraging of the kids that show up, giving pointers, telling them when they do something good.

Course Correction

7 July, 2016

Course Correction: A story of rowing and Resilience in the wake of Title IX, by Ginny Gilder (part owner of the Seattle Storm!), is the fourth book about crew I’ve recently read. I’m getting the impression that crew is a sport of how much misery can you put your body through in order to give yourself a chance of winning a few races a year. So, not for me!

Gilder mentions that in early 20th century most women’s colleges had some competitive sports for women, but in the 1920s there was “a culture rebellion against the concept of the ‘independent woman’ slowed progress….the concerns that engagement in sports promoted ‘mannish’ characteristics and produced women who would be too strong and unable to submit to their husbands’ authority….For the next four decades, educators and parents viewed female involvement in competitive sports as both a health and a moral hazard; women’s colleges across the country downgraded their competitive intercollegiate offerings to intramural status, focusing on socializing and fun,  not winning.”  (pg 93)

(I want to learn more about that.)

More quotes:

“Unfortunately, you have to develop a personal and deeply familiar relationship with failure to become great at anything. Losing is the most effective way to inspire improvement and generate success.” (pg 89-90)

“Sport is one among many human endeavors, one possible path in the search for meaning, self-expression, and purpose. It is intimately personal an universally important, this business of striving beyond one’s limits, of aspiring to perfection and inevitably falling short, failing, and risking again…”  (pg 132)

“There comes a moment in every stroke when it’s time to stop pulling.”  (pg 201)

Hats off to Ms. Gilder, often she was cut from a team for not being good enough, she fought many personal battles, and was able to eventually earn a silver medal at the Olympics.