First off, obviously there are some changes here. I finally got everything moved over to my new site host and, hopefully, functioning properly. There’s still work to do: I need to pick a new theme that I like, I’m having some trouble getting footnotes to work, and the Markdown text language I’ve been writing in for years doesn’t seem to be converting properly, which is messing with my head. Ten years ago when I was constantly messing around with how the site looked and worked, those fixes were easy. Now that I’m out of practice, they are awfully tedious.

But it does seem like I can post from my desktop and I can once again include images in my posts, so we’re moving in the right direction.

Now for some kid sports updates.
The kickball season wrapped up last week. Neither C’s or L’s teams were super successful; C’s team won only one game, L’s team went 4–3 in a very tough division. Both girls had solid seasons. They both kicked pretty well and L was very good on defense. C has always played the suicide position next to the pitcher. She finally reached the age where that’s not as important, so we tried to move her to the outfield against good kicking teams, but she was uncomfortable out there. She made a lot less plays because she was out of the spot she’s been in since fourth grade. Amazingly we had only one night rained out all season, which is a new record. L said that was likely her final season to play, although I’m hoping I can talk her into one more in the spring.

While their teams didn’t do all that well, one of our fourth grade teams won the City championship last week. That was a big deal, ending at least an 0–7 stretch in kickball City championship games for St. P’s.
Cross country is getting close to wrapping up. For C it’s been a challenging year. She’s been saying all season that she doesn’t enjoy it as much as in the past. Her times have been a little slower, and it has not helped that our very warm September has meant she’s been running in heat every week. She had still placed in three of her first four meets, and in the fourth meet she missed placing by one spot and 10 seconds. Saturday she ran her best time of the year, her second fastest time of the past two years, and her best time ever on that course. She snuck into the top 25 to get another ribbon on a day when a lot of good runners were really struggling. It looked like she was going to finish the season really strong.

And then yesterday she could barely walk. We haven’t taken her to get x-rayed but based on how the pain had been building for a few days and its location, S is reasonably certain C has a stress fracture in her foot. So we’re pulling her out of this week’s practices and meet, putting her into a walking book, and hoping that with the next weekend off, she’ll be ready to run again for the City meet in two weeks.

For M, XC has been a struggle. The practices are hard. The meets are really hard. She’s often one of the very last runners on the course. She kept telling us that she was enjoying it, but we know that her performances are getting to her. Especially when she looks at her per-mile pace and compares it to C’s. We try to find some positive in each week, and I remind her how many girls on her team decide not to run every week. She might be bringing up the rear, but she’s out there trying. She did miss this weekend’s meet because she was sick. That may have been a blessing because the course they ran on was super hilly and it could have gotten very ugly. She has just two more meets left. I would guess that she will not run next year, but this season has served its purpose: it helped her ease into high school and gave her an instant group of friends. And she will always be able to say that she earned a (JV) letter in cross country if she can survive the last couple meets. It’s also been fun to hear her and C talking about running together. They struggle to connect at times and C craves her big sister’s approval. Although their abilities are very different, at least XC has given them some common ground.
While kickball has wrapped up, we are three weeks into soccer and about to start basketball for L. Her soccer team is 2–1–1, she is tied for the lead in goals and has the lead in assists despite missing a game. She’s playing well, often more in a midfield role than her traditional forward spot. But she’s also playing with a lot of girls who have a much lower soccer IQ and I think that frustrates her at times.

It’s been a little hard for me to watch from the sidelines. Although I was happy I did not have to coach her team this year, after doing it for three years I have a different perspective. I also don’t believe parents on the sidelines should be yelling at kids on how to play. So I tend to lean over to S and mutter, “What they hell are they doing?” or “Why does he have that girl playing that position?” I also get unreasonably bitter when L subs out, because it always happens at the worst time. Example: Saturday she started the second half on the bench. No big deal, it was hot, she ran hard in the first half. Naturally we get a penalty kick for a hand ball in the box. The girl we send to take the shot has no idea what to do and hits a dribbler the goalie saves easily. Last week when L took a PK, she blasted it into the corner where the goalie had no chance. Obviously, this was totally random; the coach didn’t know we were going to get a PK while L was out. Yet I was bothered. Fortunately L took a great corner later in the half that a teammate tapped in for a goal and the 1–0 win.

Her first basketball game is Wednesday night. They’ve been practicing 2–3 times a week. I got asked to help last week when both of their coaches, who I coached with two years ago, we going to be late. The team is super athletic. We have some size, lots of speed. And our center is a setter in volleyball and knows how to make quick passes out of the post to cutters. If they can learn how to hit shots they could be really good.

My expectation was that L would play off the bench. But from what I saw Friday, and from what she’s told me, I think she’s going to start at point guard. I hope she’s ready to face sixth graders who play year-round.

She’s been loving it, though. I don’t remember if I mentioned this already, but she told me a couple weeks ago that she wants to play basketball this winter and is reconsidering whether she plays club soccer next year because she likes basketball so much. It’s been cool to see her connect with the sixth graders, too. I’ve seen them run over and start talking to her as the walk into school in the mornings. One who lives near us invited her over to hang out this weekend. In some ways I think she connects better with them than her two classmates that are also on the team. Game recognizes game.