Saturday, August 19, 2017

Leaving It All On the Pitch Or Field Or Road Or Wherever

I had a pretty good idea what I wanted to write about today as I had meant to write it for the last week or so.  Between soccer practices and classes and whatever life throws at you…the best laid plans of mice and men.  

Anyone who has been reading knows that myself and a bunch of friends would be running the Wild West Relay this summer.  For those out of the know, it is a relay race between Fort Collins and Steamboat Springs amounting to 200 miles, thirty hours and blood, sweat and beers.  I have said it before and I'll say it again, it's among the dumbest most fun activities that one can accomplish. I was one hundred percent sure that this would be the topic of this week’s post, but then today, and specifically, my eldest child Avery, happened.  

I’ll start with the race.  We had a very good team this year and were running with a good cause (click here if you still want to contribute, hint hint).  By very good team, it was fast, but it also was made up of great people, veterans and rookies and everything in between.  I fall in both the veteran category for my experience with the race and rookie based on my ability.  The race consists of twelve runners each running three legs of varying difficulty.  The team is split into two vans that each run eighteen legs a piece.  

Our van has one really challenging set of legs only to be given the most experienced and talented of runners.  Ours was a girl named Mary Alice.  She is a spectacular runner and a ton of fun as well.  Great on the road and in the van as well.  As luck would have it, our A+ runner twisted her ankle just one mile into the relay.  Ugh, disaster.  She was able to finish her first and easiest leg, but lo and behold, she would be unable to run her two most difficult legs, certainly not for lack of trying.  
Long story short, I watched a team rally together.  Each of the runners picked up miles here and there and Mary Alice continued to try to run what her body would let her do.  At the end of the day, what I saw was my favorite running team I have been a part of.  There is always a sense of camaraderie on these things, but what I witnessed was a group that refused to quit and did it all with an astonishing sense of humor and resolve.  As luck would have it, the other van experienced the same sort of injury and the same sort of teamwork.  In the end, we finished seventh in our division and number one in our hearts.

Which brings me to Avery.  Today she played in day one of a soccer tournament, on day one of her season and the first game with a new team.  She had every reason to be nervous and a lot of room for excuses.  She wouldn’t need any.  

Her team was over-matched and the temperature sat just under 100 degrees.  She didn’t start the game and occupied the bench for the first ten minutes.  When she finally got in she showed a ton of hustle and played hard for the rest of the first half, never returning to the bench.  It was clear that she was hot and tired as the half wound down.  She started the second half and showed a ton of moxie as she maintained a high level of intensity despite the temperature.  Over and over again the coach substituted players as they stopped pursuing opposing goal-scorers due to the heat and the overwhelming score deficit.  Avery’s number was never called for substitution.  She played the entire second half and hustled when necessary.  She was very impressive.  The team lost, sure, but they have just started playing together. They will get better.  When the final whistle blew, Avery looked tired and disappointed in the score.  She should have been proud. 

The lesson here girls.  It’s one you have heard before.  It applied to the running team and it applied to Avery in her game.  Leave it all on the field.  Try your heart out and you can pat yourself on the back when it’s all over.  Yeah, you lost, so did we.  But when all is said and done, I’ll take the girl who busts her tail until she can’t give any more.  I’ll say it about Avery, I’ll say it about Mary Alice and I’ll say it about the rest of the teams both soccer and running.  Winning is great.  Winning feels amazing but nothing, and I mean nothing in the world of sports feels better than knowing that you had nothing left in the tank and nothing left to give when the final whistle blows or when you cross the finish line.  Congratulations Avery and congratulations Tutus.  Your dad and your teammate, in that order, couldn’t be prouder.  

Over the next couple of weeks I will be mentioning local companies that sponsored our running team and Dash for Nash without hope for anything in return short of the warm feeling of helping someone in need. If you need the services they offer please consider the fact that they are a Northern Colorado company with local interests at heart.  Thank you!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

On a Scale of One to Ten - I Didn't Get Much Done

My begging for donations is front row center this post as the actual “Dash for Nash” takes place this weekend.  For those who haven't been reading this blog, Nash was in a terrible car accident when he was hit by an uninsured drunk driver.  His road to recovery is a long one and anything you can do helps.  Give what you can, every dollar, prayer and share goes a long way!  To donate, click HERE, but if you can't do that, share this post, and if that's too much, say a little prayer for Mai and her family.  Thanks again!


Earlier this year I made public my resolutions for the year and I must say…. I am quickly falling on my face.  I made bold proclamations and underlined them with hope and moxy.  I spoke of shaving time off of my marathon times, losing weight, getting the kids going in a variety of ways and even improving my golf game.  I have not succeeded in any of these endeavors.  Here they are in the most successful to least successful of said projects. 

GOLF – I set a goal of playing a sub 40 round of golf.  While I didn’t hit that so far, I have hit two 40s this year.  I don’t feel like I’ve played well and I also don’t feel like I’ve played enough to do so.  That probably has something to do with responsibilities.  Stupid responsibilities.

WEIGHT – It may not be obvious to the naked eye, but I’m not impossibly far behind in my weight loss goal.  In fact, I am halfway there.  On the surface, one might think “halfway there with almost half a year left, he may have this one”.  Those people clearly don’t celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas or know anything about my winter weight gain or know what happens to me after I run my last race of the year. Conservatively, I would need to be at 130% of my weight goal to have a chance of being at 100% come December 31. 

RUNNING – I wanted to shave some minutes off my marathon times.  Whelp, it seems you would have to run a marathon to shave minutes from it.  While I have run a bunch this year, time concerns made marathon training a difficult nut to crack.  My last race of the year will be a half marathon in September but will unfortunately fall 13.1 miles short of a full.  I guess you could say I shaved four plus hours off last year’s marathon time, but that might be slightly disingenuous. 

KIDS – I wanted this summer to be the one where we worked on things that were important to them…whether they realized it or not.  I had full intentions of accelerating their math program, their piano lessons, their soccer play and their running, some of which they are currently interested in.  We did some of the above, not all, perhaps not even a lot.  I have begun to realize that they have to want it for themselves as bad as I want it for them.  I had dreams of them being ahead in school this year, of being in the upper echelon of their respective soccer teams and of getting a foothold on the piano.  As a parent, you want the best for your little ones even if they don’t see the full benefit, but without seeing the full benefit they are less than apt to dedicate themselves. It’s a conundrum, a Catch-22 that less solvable than I have grey matter to combat it. 

The message here girls?  Its twofold.  The first is to be accountable.  I made a list of things that I wanted to accomplish.  I put them out to the world (or worse, on the internet which apparently is forever).   It would have been easy to ignore what I had resolved, and to most readers it may have been advised.  But the fact is that I resolved to get these things done and for the most part, I did not.  I have time, but unless Christmas is void of visitors and ham, I don’t like my odds.  The second lesson has more to do with you directly.  Some of the resolutions I made were to help you accomplish things that would benefit you down the road.  The problem with that road is that it is a two-way street.  I can want it for you until I’m blue in the face but you have to want it, too.  What I can do is facilitate things and show you why it’s important but it’s up to you to follow through.  That being said, time to clean your room, at home soccer practice starts in fifteen!