Monday, November 16, 2009

Time Warp Three Days in One

Days 81 - 83

Boston Qualifying Training. I can best describe my swim workout as lacking. I had the rest, I just did not seem to have any speed. The workout plan was great, a good warm up, and I liked the set, 5 x 400 with the 400 made up of free style, kick, IM and pull. But I had no energy. I was beat and my strength lacking. I was at the end of the pack the whole time. I pushed through the workout and called it a day. Later in the day I would hit the weights.

Jay's reaction to hearing that Turkey Sausage has been removed from the menu at Cracker Barrel. He will now be forced to eat Bacon!

With a poor swim, I could only wonder how my run would feel. Jay is leaving for Vegas before noon. That means we have a big run, 15 miles that starts at 3:45 AM. The pace is an 8:10. This is really close to the Marathon pace, scheduled for 8:00. We start the run off well though too fast, we back the pace down and settle into a very comfortable pace. I feel good and Jay and I discuss keeping the pace at 8:10 for the first 8 miles and dropping it the last 7 miles. A good plan. We do just that and it feels good. The final time is 2:00:56, that includes stopping twice for water.

At the end of the run we do some quick math, 8:03 per mile. Nice. It feels good. At one point, around mile 12, I look at Jay, we are cruising. Our breath is normal, the legs, good, (my left leg hurt a bit but was manageable). I spent some extra time stretching. I feel good and I am very confident after this run.

The day is best described as GAME DAY. Wil has his last game of the season. Though I try very hard to not worry about the wins or loses with 7/8 year old boys, there is a part of me deep down that wants the boys to win. Not for me, but for Wil and his teammates. The Fighting Irish enter today’s tilt with no losses. I try very hard not to think about winning, but good play. If I press, it will only make it worse. I take out the sharpie and as I have done for the past several weeks I write my little reminder on my hand, “Coach Up!”. I make Wil a good breakfast before we leave for the game, pancakes.

We load into the car, we need to be on the field at 8:05, the game starts at 8:30. Driving over to the game I ask Wil if he is nervous. “Yes” he says. Good I respond. “Why, why good”. I share with him that it means he is ready. That he wants to do well. It is his body and mind preparing to give the very best. If he was not nervous, I would be more concerned. This relaxes him and we talk about football as we drive to the field.

The game goes well and Wil is outstanding. We score 42 points and it is never close. The boys play really well. Wil and kids finish the season with no losses. Perfect. Better I achieved the one goal I have every year, it is not based on wins or losses, rather, my goal to have every boy on the team score a touchdown. So many coaches pick 1-2 kids to be the quarterback or running back… I take a different approach. Every week I pick two new running backs. Everybody is the star one week. I am most proud that I can let the boys have their moment in the sun.

The game link:

We celebrate the season at the Varsity for lunch. A big day for Wil, three touchdowns and an undefeated season. Means more to me than my 15 mile run and marathon to watch as his face beams with pride.

Before the food is digested, my thoughts turn to Jack and his game tonight. They are playing to get into their Superbowl. The boys are clearly capable of winning. The team we are playing we have lost to twice. The first game was close, 6 – 13, but we played a less than perfect game. The next game was 0 – 0 at the half, but we were blown out in the second half, losing 20 – 0. This would be different. A new defensive scheme was put in place, we added a new offensive series, our version of the Wildcat.

The game is a battle. It is a hard hitting, smash-mouth game. We score first. It is good and I feel confident. A couple of blown tackles on defense and they score next. We get the ball back and drive the distance of the field. I call a risky play near the goal line and the ball is fumbled. The boys hold tough, but a missed tackle and it is off to the races. We are down. Once again we drive the ball, only to stall near the goal line.. The competitors are driving, we pick the ball off as the clock hit zero. Unfortunately the ball is accidentally run out of bounds. The score at halftime 13 -6.

The second half is a battle. Each yard gained is earned. The boys are dirty, bruised and many of them bleeding. There is no give. The second half is 0 – 0 . The final score is 6 – 13. Though we lose, it does not feel like a loss. The teams played so well, either team could have been victorious. It came down to a missed block here, a blown tackle here or there. I am proud of each of the boys. Jack had a great game, 3 solo tackles and a fumble recovery.

The boys may have lost, but they won a big battle and each can hold their heads high as a champion. We celebrate with beer and wings at Taco Mac.

I may say that I am happy, and I really am, however, that does not mean I did not spend the night laying awake re-thinking every bad play I called in. I could kick myself for the play near the end-zone. I was way too cute and it cost us, possibly the game.

I know I am happy that Diane and Harry stayed to see the boys play their final game of the season. It is great to have family around.

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