Photo Friday

Photo Friday – Golfing Buddies

Friday golf.jpg

Jack and Will have been really interested in golf since we took them to the US Open in June. Will is in the backyard almost daily hitting balls and putting. It is only a matter of time before we have a net, mat and maybe true putting green back there. Jim cut a green into what lawn has survived the summer weather for now.

They have participated in a Junior Play Day the last two Mondays, where they get to go and play nine holes on a local course. Today they took Daddy out to play with them.

Photo Friday

Photo Friday – Jack’s Basket

Jack basketball 2015.jpg

Jack’s basketball season is almost over and last weekend Jack finally made his first basket of the season. He plays so hard and is a great defender, but hasn’t gotten the ball to bounce into the basket. The sequence of this basket are below. He has kept his head up and taking shots. We are so proud of his effort.

Jack basket 1.jpg

Jack basket 2.jpg

Jack basket 3.jpg

Photo Friday

Photo Friday – Jack scoring a goal

Jack goal.jpg

Jack scored two goals in his soccer game a couple weeks ago. One was on a corner kick (I was blocked out of getting the shot) and the other was in the 2nd half (see above). The coach promised the boys that he would buy them ice cream if they scored on a corner kick and Jack put it in. I love the photo of him looking toward the sideline during the celebration. Last weekend coach bought all the boys ice cream after a great game against a really tough team. Jack is on a great team and we hope that we can keep the boys together for a few more years.

corner kick.jpg

Ice cream goal.jpg

goal celebration.jpg

Photo Friday

Photo Friday – Will’s Friday Night Lights

Will soccer.jpg

Will is playing Friday night lights soccer this year. He is having fun playing with his teammates as much as five year olds play as a team. It is fun to watch him as he gets to be the one that has the games instead of getting hauled to his brother’s games. We lucked out that Will’s coach is also Jack’s coach and we love him. Jack helped out patrolling the sidelines (see him in the background). Come join us on Friday nights for some fun!

Will soccer 2.jpg

Photo Friday

Photo Friday – Swimming

jack swimming.jpg

The boys have been taking swimming lessons over the last two weeks. It has been amazing to watch their progress. Jack has learned three new strokes (breaststroke, backstroke and elementary backstroke), he is starting to tread water and his freestyle with side breathing is much better. Will started lessons in March not being able to swim at all and now he can get across the pool on his own. He is working on his freestyle and breathing as well as elementary backstroke. I am really proud of how hard they have worked.

Jack swimming breaststroke and freestyle

Will swimming across the pool

Will doing a kneeling dive

Super Sounders

Family Sounders game.jpgLast fall we took the family to a Seattle Sounders FC game, the local Major League Soccer team. Our seats were way up in the third deck and Will was unable to see the game.

At halftime Jim found some seats on the lower level that were not occupied and asked an usher if we could sit there, letting him know we had a vision impaired child. They gladly let us sit there and Will was able to see the game much better. The boys really enjoyed the seats and the game from that perspective.

The Sounders have been a marketing machine, drawing averaging more than 40,000 fans per game – more than twice the fans than the team with the second highest attendance. And they have done all this in only five years of existence. The games are fun and family friendly, with activities for kids before the game around the stadium. They run soccer camps throughout the region that kids love and are attended by members of the team. They even take time to sign all of the kids’ camp shirts.

After that game we decided to get a partial season ticket package for this season provided we could get seats that would work for Will. The Sounders not only found seats on the lower level, they offered us front row tickets for a significantly discounted price – all without asking for proof of disability. We didn’t feel it was right to take front row seats so we found great ones behind one of the goals elevated above the field for easy viewing (even when the fans stand, which they do for the entire game).

A few Saturdays ago we had our first game of the season and the seats were perfect. We are behind the goal where the Sounders are on offense in the first half and Will was able to see his favorite player, Obafemi Martins, score the first goal right in front of us. We love the way he says Obafemi’s name.

Up until now we hadn’t really thought about asking for seats to help him see at events. He is just now really starting to watch games. We learned through this process that if you don’t ask you will never get what you need. So we will continue to speak up and advocate for him and the Sounders proved, once again, why they are a world class organization by which other franchises will model their businesses. We are lucky to have them as a part of our community.

Scarves up to you, Sounders!

May 2014 Sounders game.jpg

How Can We Judge?

seahawks-logoAt this point I am sure everyone has seen or heard about Richard Sherman’s comments following the NFC Championship Game, which the Seahawks won on an amazing defensive play by the Seahawk cornerback. While the outcome of the game was as so many hoped, at least here in Seattle, the reaction to Richard Sherman’s post-game interview (as in seconds after the game ended) has been so surprising.

So many people judging a man who, in the heat of the moment, made comments that expressed his pure raw emotions. He is not known for holding his tongue even in the best of times. Sunday night he hardly had time to think about “sanitizing” his comments after helping his team win the game. Sure his comments were brash and unfiltered and probably deserve to be criticized for his decision to focus on a personal rivalry with an opponent, but his character doesn’t deserve to be attacked. Who hasn’t said something in the heat of the moment that they have regretted in hindsight? The answer is no one. We all have because we are human. So why should he be held to a different standard?

Richard Sherman is from Compton and one of the worst school districts in the country. He worked hard studying when others were not, graduating second in his class and earning a scholarship to Stanford. In his third year in the league he is considered one of the best, if not the best, cornerback. This is a man that has graduated from Stanford, started a foundation and is an active part of the community. He is an intelligent and thoughtful man who admitted publicly that he regretted the way in which he showed emotion after the game.

Disliking him for his attitude is one thing. But the hatred is unfounded, hypocritical and just plain ignorant. We as football fans cheer on human beings and expect them to play an, at times, barbaric game with total disregard for their long-term health. Yet we also expect the same individuals conduct themselves without imperfection. Richard Sherman is an intelligent and talented man who has defied the odds and achieved the pinnacle of success in his career. Isn’t this what we all strive for? So why is it that some are so quick to build people up only to swiftly tear them down? While some may find Richard Sherman arrogant, all should be disgusted by the unfounded hate.

It is been refreshing to see some articles coming to his defense. Kudos to those that had the perspective and guts to speak their minds – just like Richard. These are some of my favorites.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/isaac-saul/what-richard-sherman-taught-us_b_4631980.html

http://www.forbes.com/sites/tommytomlinson/2014/01/19/22-brief-thoughts-about-that-richard-sherman-interview/

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-films-presents/0ap2000000254372/NFL-Films-Presents-The-trash-talking-cornerback

http://www.king5.com/sports/PS—Dont-mess-with-Sherman-241238021.html

I hope that in the future others will think before judging and calling names of someone they know little about.

Why Not Select Golf?

Jack golferBelieve it or not Jack is actually getting into the age range for select sports. You know, when kids have the opportunity to “play up” or join a team of all-stars and log lots of miles traveling from tournament to tournament. He could be trying out for baseball already and soccer starting next year and those are just the ones I know of now. It seems these days kids start specializing in sports at younger and younger ages. These select teams play year round and can be a significant financial commitment too.

Jim and I were talking about what sports we think that Jack would not only be good at, but also enjoy. So far he has mainly been exposed to the traditional kid sports of baseball, basketball, soccer and of course golf. As his friends start to really specialize and stop playing the rec sports leagues we want to make sure he has options and understands what he enjoys. We are pretty sure he isn’t going to be a top level baseball, basketball or soccer player. But he could be a great golfer.

Golf is an overlooked sport for kids. But why? It teaches a lot of good values, sportsmanship and skill. You need good hand-eye coordination and the ability to replicate a complex swinging motion the same each time. There is strategy in understanding required on how to play the holes; it isn’t always the smartest to just try and hit the ball as far as you can. Kids learn life lessons and values like etiquette, respect and patience. It is the only sport I know where referee yourself and assess penalties, even at the highest level. What a great concept – be accountable to yourself first.

It is also a sport you can play your whole life and with anyone at any level. Jim’s 83 year-old father plays at least two rounds of golf a week. Through handicapping, the playing field can be leveled and anyone can compete fairly and evenly against each other. An 83 year-old can’t play baseball against a 25 year-old and have a chance at even competition. As soon as Jack has the stamina to play 18 holes, Jim and I will take him out with us. For now, we will continue to play Par 3 courses. You can get a fair amount of exercise golfing, walking the course could add up to at least three or four miles depending upon the course you play.

Sarah 2012 Fanning Memorial   Jim 2012 Fanning Memorial

Jack has a great swing. He has played at golf camp the last three summers. Jim started playing at 13 and has never taken a lesson, but wishes he could have started earlier. Who knows how good he would have become (he got as low as a single digit handicap before kids and has shot even par once). I didn’t start playing until I met Jim, but have been told I have a very natural swing. Jim actually taught me to play. We really enjoy playing and wish that we could play more together as a couple. Will is going to play too, but he is a lefty so it will require a little more thinking on our part as we teach him to swing.

So I when your child is looking at sports why not try golf? It is a wonderful sport that is fulfilling both on and off the course.

Olympic Spirit

london olympicsOur house is in full Olympic spirit. Despite missing the opening ceremonies due to a camping trip at the beach, we arrived home and settled into our traditional viewing spot. I was pregnant during the previous two summer Olympics with bad morning sickness, so at least I had fun things to watch while resting on the couch.

One of my favorite things about the Olympics is that sports you wouldn’t normally see and are hardly ever on TV are now news. Like judo, diving and white water kayaking, these are fun to watch and the athletes are as good as anyone. I love the equestrian, 3-day eventing and jumping. This is the sport that I dreamed of competing in at the Olympics.

The Olympics are such a good representation of sportsmanship. The athletes competing their hardest and understanding the importance of the moment and what a privilege it is to be an Olympian. Missy Franklin is a great example of this, wise beyond her very young 17 years. I also enjoy watching how the athletes support each other, attending other events and cheering on their team.

So we will enjoy every moment of the games of the 30th Olympiad and will look forward to the Winter Olympics in 2014 when the 2012 games conclude.

Are you enjoying the Olympics? What are your favorite events?

Where the Girls Aren’t

Last week the Our Lady of Sorrows high school in Phoenix forfeited the Arizona Charter Athletic Association’s baseball championship game against Mesa Preparatory Academy, because Mesa Prep’s second baseman is a Paige Sultzbach, who just happens to be a girl. They cited their policy prohibiting co-ed sports. In a statement to Fox News, Our Lady of Sorrows stated that they believe in “teaching our boys to treat ladies with deference, we choose not to place them in an athletic competition where proper boundaries can only be respected with difficulty.” Paige Sultzbach tried out for the baseball team because there isn’t a softball team at Mesa Prep. She not only made the baseball team, but actually beat out boys for playing time at second base.

My first thought was, “What year is it? Aren’t we past all this?” The 40th anniversary of Title IX is coming up in about a month and Our Lady of Sorrows’ decision is an unfortunate reminder that discrimination still exists. I feel bad for Paige and all of her teammates, because they lost out on the opportunity to prove that gender doesn’t matter — if you are capable and prove it, then isn’t that enough? They deserved the chance to finish their undefeated season with a legitimate win for the championship.

I wonder what this is teaching all of the boys and girls involved and those that are reading about it in the news? As these children grow up and prepare for the rest of their life, they will face environments where men and women work side by side each day. Isn’t it better to teach them as early as possible to exist and work as a team while respecting each other? Women struggle for equality in the workplace and in life already and we don’t need a school, let alone a Catholic one, reinforcing these archaic views. This decision by a school that claims to follow the teachings of Catholicism seems incongruous and inconsistent with the letter and message sent by Pope John Paul II to women of the world on June 29, 1995. In the letter posted on the Vatican’s web site, Pope John Paul II states:

“…There is an urgent need to achieve real equality in every area: equal pay for equal work, protection for working mothers, fairness in career advancements, equality of spouses with regard to family rights and the recognition of everything that is part of the rights and duties of citizens in a democratic State. This is a matter of justice but also of necessity.”

My mom instilled in me that my sister and I could do anything we wanted regardless of our gender. We are strong women who are now raising four boys. Our boys are respectful and loving and consider women as their equal, not the lesser sex. If only everyone saw it that way.

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