Monthly Archives: September 2013

Keeping Your Head Up

So, the preseason is over for my son’s PeeWee team. Thankfully.

It hasn’t been the easiest month, with an 0-8 record (which included 4 tournament games and 4 preseason games). We won’t even mention the regular season game that was stuck in there, just for good measure. Suffice to say, the first number of our regular season record is also a 0.

There are a lot of reasons why things haven’t started off well – organizational expansion to a third team meant pulling players from the lower ranks, players with no prior travel experience, not knowing each other, still figuring out how to play as a team. The list goes on and on. Regardless, it is still painful to watch. And, based upon what I hear from the parents on the bench, it is a pain I share with many others.

I was really getting stressed about this, particularly since my son, as one of the goalies, has been taking a beating out there on the ice. Both he and the other goalie have been doing a tremendous job, but there are limits to what the goalie can do to help the team win. My son has stayed incredibly positive but when I consider that our season is not likely to turn around anytime soon, I fretted a bit about what long-term effect a losing season might have on his psyche.

Now, I am certainly not one of those parents who thinks that the team must win all the time. In fact, I am a fan of losing. I think it teaches the kids some great lessons about hard work, humility, sportsmanship, and more. I have come by this perspective honestly – I have lost quite a lot in my athletic history. And I learned a lot about myself and others through those losses.

So, my issue is not with losing. I am more concerned that the organization’s attempt to expand the pool of potential players at the PeeWee level and beyond may backfire and drive some players away from the game, instead of getting them the experience and confidence to continue on into the older age brackets.

I had a great conversation with my son’s goalie coach last week, however, that changed my perspective a bit, at least when it comes to the goalies. He told me that, provided the boys can keep their heads up and stay positive, a losing season like this can be the best thing that happens to them. They will face a ton of shots and have to defend the net from all angles. This will make them better goalies in the long run, with much more mental toughness than they had prior to the season.

I absolutely see his point and I have to admit that I have felt better the past few days about the upcoming season. Thus far in his limited career, my son has shown incredible maturity when in goal and has rarely been more than a tad bit frustrated after a tough game. He lets the games roll off his back and, once they are over, is on to the next thing (mainly, does he still have time to play with his friends when we get home). He does not blame his teammates and always points out some ways that he could have improved his game, but is not negative and has NEVER indicated that he does not want to play. I would fall over in shock if he ever did say something like that, I think. That boy LOVES to be on the ice, in the net, having that small black puck flying at his face.

Thus, I am going to do my best to sit back and relax and let the season unfold as it will. I will monitor my son’s attitude and behavior and keep the lines of communication open with both him and his coaches, in the event that he starts to falter. And I will be there for every game, cheering him and his teammates on with all my might. Because they will win some games – I am sure of that. And they will all come out of this better athletes and better young men.

There is, however, still the issue of how to keep the parents from falling apart.

Beer pong, anyone?

Red Solo Cups

Maybe some parents would be willing to dress up like this for games?

Worst. Parade. Ever.

I ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach this weekend. I have run this race before, but it has been 9 years since the last time I ran down the boardwalk to that finish line.

Now I remember why.

To say that this weekend’s race did not go as planned is an understatement. It was not a complete disaster – I finished, which makes it a success, at least at the lowest level. And my family and I got to spend a fun weekend with an old friend who came into town from the Left Coast to run this race with us. That made it worth it, no matter how the actual event unfolded.

The run itself was fraught with unexpected events that reduced me to a runner/runner-walker/very-slow-walker quite quickly. Let’s just say that things happened that have never happened to me whilst running and leave it at that. The advice I’ve read in running magazines is to recognize what went wrong, learn from it, and move on to the next race. That is what I will do.

I did, however, have some insights while running/walking/almost crawling my way along the 13.1 (do not forget that .1, it is the most painful part!) mile course and I thought I’d share them here:

  • Humidity is evil. It really, REALLY, messes with you and if you don’t believe me, read this article from Runner’s WorldThe humidity was above 70% so even when the temperature was in the 70s -80s, it easily felt like nearly 100 degrees. Oh yeah, and this was at 7 a.m.!
  • PowerBar makes a tasty cola-flavored energy chew. Tasted kinda like one of my favorite candy treats – Gummy Cola Bottles.
  • “Play that Funky Music” is a great song to run to and get a crowd going. The race had a bunch of bands playing songs as we ran by and only this song inspired a sing-along amongst runners around me. We did hear it relatively early on, so that may have been a factor, but hearing a group of people running down the street belting out “lay down the boogie and play that funky music ’til you die” all together was funny.
  • By the end of the race, nobody is singing anything.
  • Elite runners are really fast. And really skinny. Did I mention fast?
  • There are a lot of funny t-shirts about running that you can find at the race expo. Some of my favorites – “Please let there be someone behind me to read this.”; “Will run for wine.”; “Training for the Zombie Apocalypse.”; “I love running. Just not when I’m doing it.”
  • Pride will get you quite far. No matter how badly I felt, I had one final goal – to run across that finish line. And I did.
  • I need flashier running gear. There are a lot of colorful, crazy clothes and shoes out there and I am quite boring by comparison.
  • What I do not need is a skirt, tutu, tiara, or cape. Running with those things on would drive me insane.
  • There are some people with sick senses of humor cheering at races. They yell funny/stupid things and hold up clever signs. One inspired the title of this post. Another read “Where’s everyone going?” Ha ha ha.
  • No matter how bad things may have gone, I know that I will race again. I run. I’ve run for most of my life. Running is my quiet time, my sanity-saver, my health-preserver. And racing gives me a goal. I can’t give it up anymore than I can give up eating. And just like how I go back to eating after a bout of food poisoning, I will go back to running after a bout of crappy-run. Because that is what I do.

As I tell myself while slogging out those miles, “Just keep swimming.”

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