Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I Lost A Button

Here is another fun fact for expecting Fathers-to-be: Ever lose a button? Ever have someone lose a belly button? Well, maybe not lose, as in can't find at all, but lose it's shape may be a better description. I remember Demi in the late stages of pregnancy. Her belly button was completely flat. Stretched to the max. We would laugh about it. Of course being the smart guy I am, I let her laugh first......You will actually notice pregnant women walking down the street with a tight fitting shirt, and their belly button actually sticking out. We are talking way out. Like an inch or more. Have you ever seen the Governor Schwarzenegger classic Total Recall? The mutant, Kuato? That's probably a good image to focus on......

Monday, September 24, 2007

JV Mites - Week Three

Well, the young Duxbury Dragons recorded another shut-out. Final score: Duxbury 14, Hanson 0. This coach felt like we were in control the whole game. We scored our two TD's and then started substituting liberally again. I was really proud of the defense. We used a second string D for most of the second half and they really stood their ground. I don't think Hanson got across mid-field. The whole team keeps improving each week. That is the most important part. Winning is secondary.


Here's an interesting fun fact for expecting Fathers-to-be: A very low percentage of pregnant woman actually have their water break. That is something they do not tell you in class. It is not like TV or the movies, where the woman's water breaks in the grocery store, or the restaurant, etc and then it's off to the hospital. The majority of women have their water broken in the delivery room. The instrument they used looks like an over-sized knitting needle. The nurse told be to stand back. She should have said, "stand back......in Rhode Island." It was like the Hoover Dam burst it's seams. I can honestly say that neither Demi or I was prepared for that. Beware.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The End of The Innocence

Thank you Don Henley!

As much as me might like to, we know that as parents, we cannot shield our kids from everything or forever. I read a story about a kid that was accepted to Colby College from a very small, rural town in northern Maine. I mean small, as in population 50. And I mean north, like Canada. He was basically home schooled for most of his life but then attended a small high school to play sports. He had to ferry himself across a river and walk a dirt road to get to school. With all the news stories I see everyday, that scenario doesn't sound like a bad idea. OK. Maybe it's a bit extreme.
You go through milestones when you know you child was exposed to something, learned something, or figures out something, that means he is growing up. It's a little sad because each time, it seems like a bit of the childhood innocence is lost. Some of the milestones hit you harder than others. When we talked to the kids about death when Demi's grandfather passed, and soon after when my grandmother passed, they seemed to get it and took it all in stride. It went far better than I had dared to hope and I guess that is why that particular milestone didn't phase me much. Even when the kids were exposed to curse words and colorful language for the first time (thank you Bonnie), it was more comical than anything else. But there was a loss of innocence. My kids now knew there were some powerful words that would get them into trouble.
This past week was one of those milestones that hit me hard. I overheard Caz talking to Demi the other day. He was using his way of asking about something. He said he overheard a kid at school say something. The kid had tried to say that country in Africa. You know. Nigeria. But he used a short "i" rather than a long "i". Well, Demi calmly, but immediately turned off the TV, and had a talk right on the spot. My heart was in my throat. It was like that part in Christmas Story, when Ralphy drop the F-bomb. Fortunately, it was not my son that said it, but he'd heard it. He didn't know what it meant. And he didn't need to. He only needed to know it was never to be uttered.
I remember when I was first exposed to the word. It was while reading Huckleberry Finn in school. Our teacher had to get permission to talk to us about it. But he didn't it in a perfect way. And I still remember it. It's one of those words you might wish never existed. But it does. And I do feel like some innocence was lost.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

JV Mites - Week Two

The young Dragons got their first win of the season, bouncing back from last weeks tough loss. We went on defense first, and after giving up one quick first down, buckled down to force a turnover on downs (nobody punts at this level). Thunder took the first hand-off 40 yards for a TD. After forcing a 4 and out, Lightning (Caz) took the next hand-off another 40 yards for a TD. Our third series saw our back up tailback going 40 yards on our first play for a TD. We had to scramble quickly to call of the dogs. Everybody got play a whole bunch of new positions. At the same time, the kids were learning a good lesson - how to be good sports. They knew why we weren't scoring any more. Even on D, we had everybody playing everywhere. Our makeshift D, held their ground at the end, making a goal line stand to preserve the shutout. It was a really fun day, and the kids had earned it.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Movie Review - Batman Returns

It had been a while since I had seen this one. I thought that of all the old Batman movies, that this one would be OK for the kids. For the most part I was right. There are a few scenes when Nicole Kidman's character, Dr. Chase Meridian, throws her self at Batman like the fleet had come in. There was Jim Carey's Riddler exclaiming that he had just had a "joy-gasm." That was really it though. We had a quick talk with the kids, before Batman remembered the murder of his parents. The boys took it in stride. For the most part, this was age appropriate.

A lot of people didn't like this movie, or Val Kilmer's portrayal of the Dark Knight. But I liked this one. I thought Jim Carey and Tommy Lee Jones were great. I think folks had a problem with Robin, but not me. I was OK with the emergence of the side kick.

JV Mites - Week One

First game, 90+ degrees, league weigh-in, 75% rookies, and the end of 24 practices with out a game, ended in a tough 14-6 loss. All in all it was a solid team effort and a promising start, despite the outcome. And at this age, the W's are the point. Which is as it should be. The kids are here to learn and to get better. To this point, that is what they have done.

I had one set of parents tell me that we were doing a wonderful job with the kids and really appreciated the time we took with their son in particular. As a coach, that was very rewarding to hear. They were a bit worried about their son because he wasn't the strongest player and didn't like to hit. But he makes progress every practice.

I had another Dad approach me after practice, asking "what do you do with a kid that just doesn't seem to be getting it?" I told him a lot of the same things that I told the other set of parents, that all the kids are making progress everyday. And that's the truth. Some are making more progress that others. I told him not to worry about the position his son was playing now, that changes happen all the time. We try to find the kids' strength and then put them into positions to succeed. I told them they all stare off into space at some point and tune us out. They are 8. We keep at all the kids and work with them. They end up making progress. He felt better after our talk. And after our game, we talked again. I asked his son if he had fun. "Yes." I asked the father if he had fun. "Yes, we had a ball." Mission accomplished.

Game Notes: Our rookie QB played flawlessly. No fumbled snaps from a rookie center. Our rookie Tailback who was having a breakdown worrying about forgetting plays, not only ran to the right hole every time but scored the only touchdown. The Thunder and Lightning (Caz) show lived up to the hype. Thunder averaged 5 yds a carry pounding the ball in the middle. Lightning got bottled up a bit in the first half, with the defense staying home and limiting him to 12-15 yds on 3 carries. He hit a home run, ripping off a 45 yard run to the 3, setting up the lone TD, on a counter left. (Can you tell that I am a proud Dad?) The defense actually played very well. The only two let downs were on the two TD's. Most importantly, all the kids played and they all had fun.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Weights & Measures

Today was weigh-in day for the youth football teams around the area. Sounds simple, right? Each age division has it's own weight threshold. It's pass/fail. So for Caz's age group 7-9, kids have to be 100 lbs or less. The officials set the bar at 100 and kids step on, one at a time. But where it gets dramatic is where the kids are over the limit. For most, that means their season is done, if they don't make weight. Younger kids have the option of playing up, but most parents make the right call. You would be talking about possibly playing an 8 year old with 10 & 11 year old kids. That is a big difference. Even if you have comparable sizes, that can be two years extra of speed and coordination. That's not saying there aren't exceptions to every rule, but odds are you don't take that chance and you do not play your kid that season. Some of the kids are crushed. There were 12 & 13 year old kids bawling their eyes out, after they failed to make weight. As a coach, you have to be able to console them. We decided to take the extra measure to weigh our borderline kids, off to the side, before our last practice of the week, on Thursday. The thought was it was better to find out there, if there was no chance. And there was one,kid from another team that I saw, that was 7-8 pounds over the limit. He just handed in his pads on the spot. Took it like a champ. But today there was one kid who didn't suspect it and was devastated. So you can clearly run the gambit.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

"This Is the End...."

"....my only friend the End"

While I seem to be lamenting the end of summer, I must admit I really do like Fall. Labor Day weekend means that football is here. The first weekend of college football was just what the doctor ordered. This coming weekend we get the Patriots first game. Caz and I have our first game of the season as well. Year two of coaching JV Mites seems to be going much better than my rookie season. I learned a lot last season. I think I am able to learn from my mistakes and do things better the next time around and this season seems to reflect that.

Now with the lead up to the Patriots kick off, the hype keeps growing by the day. With though, came the story of Rodney Harrison's suspension for violating the banned substance policy of the NFL. You have to understand that the four of us had numerous discussions about Barry Bonds, this past summer while the dubious HR record chase was at the forefront of the media. You also need to realize that Coco and Caz pay attention when we watch SportsDesk or SportsCenter. I was aware that the older kids in the football program were discussing Rodney. The odds are that Caz was going to hear these discussions or hear some of the news about Rodney. So I decided to launch a preemptive strike and initiated a conversation about it with Caz last night. I wanted to make sure he got the most accurate information possible and have a chance to ask questions, if he had them.

At the beginning, I tried to compare the situation to Barry's but highlight the differences. I made it clear that Rodney made a bad decision. He hurt himself and his team. But he admitted his mistake and owned up to his decision. He would pay the price for breaking the rules of the NFL. We had a brief discussion about why the NFL had a long standing drug policy and why MLB did not. He wanted to know why Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi had not been suspended. We talked about steroids and human growth hormones. I acknowledge that this part was a lot to take in. It was OK if he did not understand all of it. This segued into a previous discussion about Lyle Alzado and how he died.

We also talked about peer pressure. We talked about how a friend, in the future, might think that steroids might be a good idea and worth the risk. One of the hardest things to do in life, is to say "No" to a friend, and make your own decision. I laid the foundation for future discussions about alcohol and drugs. This whole parenting thing is a process. Toss in your own building block analogy here. "Onions have layers." Overall, I really feel this was the right decision, to address the topic, and was a worthwhile endeavor. It should pay dividends in the future.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Land of the LOST

What am I going to do this fall without LOST? I like that they are moving to the 24 format of starting late and going all new every week. But now what? I still have CSI and the Unit. But now I have to choose between Chuck, Gossip Girl, and the Journeyman? Pick your poison. It's the equivalent of choosing which way you'd like to break your arm. e. None of the Above.

You might think Journeyman would be OK, but it was probably much better the first time, when it was called Quantum Leap.

The End of Days

Well, the end of summer days anyway. Coco and Caz go back to school tomorrow. Demi and I will get our first test of Empty Nest Syndrome. Really, only Demi, but we're a team. Coco hits first grade which means a full day of school. Caz goes off to third grade which means a new school for him. My old school. It was K-5 back in the day, but today it is only 3-5.

Adjustments abound. Coco won't have his big brother on the school bus. Caz has an earlier bus pick up. Demi has to start her day earlier. That should be interesting.

Earlier bed times started tonight. We started moving it back slowly last week, to ease the boys back into a routine for school. They have their new alarms clocks. The clocks play CD's too. You'd think we'd given them free tickets to Soul Train. "Want to come to a party in my room?" as C + C Music Factory is blaring in the back ground. Coco's big dance move is the booty shake with the butt slap thrown in for good measure.

I hope the transition goes smoothly and the party keeps going.