We are officially in the busiest stretch of the year for us. Right in the middle of kickball season. First cross country meet was last Saturday. Soccer practice begins this Wednesday. For the next two weeks we’ll have five teams cranked up and rolling through practices and games/meets.

C had a solid sports weekend. Friday night she had a kickball game. They run-ruled their opponents in six innings. She had two singles, a double, and a home run. And, once again, she played amazing defense. She had two innings as either pitcher or suicide in which she accounted for all three defensive outs of the inning. The dad keeping score with me was incredulous, “How did she catch that? What do you do, just crush balls at her at home all the time?” I could just shrug.

The best part about her defense is how she has no poker face about it. After the first out she’ll look around in surprise, like she can’t believe she made the catch. After the second she’ll start giggling. While making the third out, she’s flat out laughing. She could be a stone-cold killer of a player if she was as competitive as some of the girls out there. I’m kind of glad she still looks at it as a silly game.

At her cross country meet the next day a mom of one of her teammates, who was not at the game, came up to me and said, “My 7th grader texted me from the game last night and said ‘C.B. just played the greatest kickball game I’ve ever seen!’.” That might be exaggerating a little; one of his classmates has had some amazing games. But it was still cool to hear.

As for cross country, the first meet of the year is always a crapshoot. You’re not sure how a month’s worth of training will pay off. How will the kids react to running competitively for the first time of the year? How will they manage getting some food – but not too much – into their bodies before the race? This meet throws another curve at the kids as it is a relay event. Kids have a partner and take turns running 1K at a time until they’ve run 6K as a team. While it’s a good way to ease into the season, for some reason this format seems to throw a lot of kids.

New for us this year was C moving up to the 5th/6th race, so no longer was she running first. We watched the 3rd/4th race and soooo many kids were crying at the end. Good times.

Anyway, C was running with her buddy E, as they are the only two St. P’s 5th grade girls this year. They were both consistently in the top 10 of their age group last year, so we were eager to see how they did. During the race they both seemed to struggle. E got the hilly side of the course and hadn’t run a bunch of hills yet. C just looked off; she seemed to be running with choppy steps instead of smooth ones. Boys and girls ran together, so I was doing my best to count where they were amidst the packs of kids. I had them finishing 12th or 13th. We got the results Sunday night and they were actually 11th. Four seconds faster and they would have edged out one of the St. P’s 6th grade teams for the last ribbon. Not too shabby! I think hearing that helped C understand that just because she’s running against older girls doesn’t mean she’s not still competitive.

After the race she said her knees hurt from kickball the night before. Plus she’s been fighting a cold, although she said that didn’t affect her as much as her knees did.

If the weather cooperates, we have a packed schedule this week. L has two kickball games, tonight and Thursday, against the two teams they beat last week. M has a doubleheader tonight and another game Wednesday. C has games Tuesday and Thursday. We’ll try to run her tonight, although her cold has gotten worse and she may take the night off. And L has soccer practice Wednesday.

Friday is a night off from kid sports, but we plan on going to the local high school football game that night before our last lake weekend of the summer.