Saturday, March 23, 2013

It's All Worth It

As if things weren't busy enough, I agreed to coach the track team at my school this year. A good friend of mine had been the coach for years, making the team a perennial power, winning the city championship the last nine years in a row. My buddy took a job at the high school down the road, and he asked if I would take over for him. He said he trusted me to take over and keep the team rolling, uphold the tradition. How could I refuse?

With 50 boys on the team, there's a ton of paper work. Managing practices and meets is like herding cats at times. It's a lot of work, and juggling track and teaching is wearing me down. With 6 meets in April, things will be pretty crazy. We're on Spring Break this week, so I'm hoping to be rested and ready to go for the stretch run.

Here's a little story that makes it all worth it.

One of my guys was very upset about being moved up to the C division (kids compete in classes determined by height and weight). That's where his measurements put him, but he didn't think he could handle it. He was particularly worried about the high jump. He was sure he couldn't even jump the beginning height.

At our first meet, he was a wreck. On his first attempt, he just missed clearing the bar. I pulled him aside and gave him a little instruction on his technique, assuring him that he could clear the height with ease. And that's exactly what my man did.

The look on his face was pure joy.

My man cleared the next three heights, and each time the smile got bigger and bigger. I could literally see the confidence growing. It was truly an awesome sight.

Let me tell ya, it doesn't get any better than that.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Top 10 Movie Countdown Blogfest

Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh for hosting a blogfest right up my alley. My theme for A-Z this year is movies, so this will be a nice little tune-up for April. There's probably still time to join the fun. Just click the big ol' badge and share your top 10.

The movies on my list are more than just movies to me, they are memories of time shared with important people in my life. And every time I watch them, they have the power to create new and lasting memories. This is a theme I plan on exploring quite a bit during A-Z, the memories that movies have given me. Since I'll probably write about all of my top 10 in one way or another, for this post I'll just go with a basic list.

10) The Empire Strikes Back
9) Stand By Me
8) Raising Arizona
7) Say Anything
6) To Kill a Mockingbird
5) Up
4) Pulp Fiction
3) Wonder Boys
2) Little Miss Sunshine
1) The Big Lebowski

I'm looking forward to checking out as many of the top tens as I can. If you're not doing your own top 10 for the blogfest, maybe you could leave some of your favorites in the comments.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

National Wormhole Day

It's time for the National Wormhole Day hop, hosted by Stephen Tremp, LG Smith, and Laura Eno.

I'm joining the party last minute, but I have to support LG, one of the best bloggers out there. Here's the skinny on the hop:

What would you do or where would you go if you could traverse a wormhole through space or time just once? One safe round trip passage. Would you go back in time and talk some sense into a younger you? Go five years into the future and bring back the Wall Street Journal? See just how the heck the Great Pyramids of Giza were really built? View what the other side of the universe looks like? Kill Hitler?

I'm going with a sports theme for this one. I'm a huge Green Bay Packers fan, and there are a number of great games I would have loved to see in person. Perhaps the most famous game in Green Bay history is the Ice Bowl, so that's where I'd go. Back to Dec. 31, 1967. Back to a balmy -15 degrees, -48 with the wind chill. 

It was so cold that day a bunch of players couldn't start their cars and had to scramble to find a way to the stadium. It was so cold, the ref's metal whistle froze to his lips at the beginning of the game. It was so cold the University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse marching band scraped their halftime performance because everyone's lips were freezing to their instruments.

I bet the parking lot was full of people tailgating. That's just how GBP fans roll. 

Starr scoring the winning touchdown
The Packers defeated their arch rival, the Dallas Cowboys, 21-17 that glorious Sunday, securing a spot in the second Super Bowl. Bart Starr scored on the game's final play, sneaking in behind ol' Jerry Kramer. 

50, 861 people were in attendance that day. I'd go through the wormhole to make that 50, 862.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Better Late Than Never

I've been home for over a week now, but I'm still in catch-up mode. I feel like a hamster running on that wheel, chasing the rhythm of normal life. I was able to document most of the trip from the road, but I have one more post to crank out.

Our last day in Israel began with a stop at Qumran, a village near the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. Our next stop was decidedly less ancient, the Ahava manufacturing plant and showroom. Ahava is a brand of skin care products made of mud and mineral-based compounds from the Dead Sea. The women in my life love the creams and lotions, so this was prime souvenir time for me.

the square is where the Romans camped out
Then it was down the road and back to the ancient past at Masada. Herod the Great established a fortress and built an amazing, terraced palace complex overlooking the Dead Sea. When the Romans attacked Masada, the Jewish inhabitants killed themselves rather than be taken into slavery. This is an extremely important site for Israelis, and one of the more memorable stops on the trip.

my mom soaking her feet while I float
The last stop of the day, and the trip, was the Dead Sea itself. Floating in the Dead Sea was on the bucket list, and the experience did not disappoint. The water is so salty and full of other chemicals that you don't put your head under the water. In fact, you don't splash around in the Dead Sea at all. Just a little bit of the water in your eyes is very painful. You wade out, sit back, and float. It's amazing. After my float, I partook in another Dead Sea tradition, covering your body in Dead Sea mud. I'll spare you the pictures, but that was a blast too.

The journey home was exhausting, but overall, the trip exceeded my expectations. I love it when that happens.