Well that was real mature...

Well that was real mature...

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Fall Round Up, Part 1: Xander - Baseball, Wrestling, School and Halloween

Writing a blog is kind of like being Sisphus.

You want to cover lots of stuff but the longer you go the bigger the boulder gets. When you actually get around to it and cover (sometimes inadequately) the things you want to cover and get that big boulder to the apex of the mount, the next thing you know, the boulder is back at the bottom of the hill and you have a whole host of other things you want to touch on.

For my first round-up, I have to go all proud poppa again. Anyone who follows me on twitter @BrettTHarris knows that when I am not promoting my webcomic www.adventuresinpulp.com or making the occasional nerdy observation, I am usually touting the awesomeness that is Xander Harris (genius, athlete and all around awesome kid, not Buffy the Vampire Slayer's sidekick). So for this entry I go into obnoxious parent mode. Those of you with kids will understand, those who don't... um, move along, nothing to see here today, but come back soon because I'll be discussing things like Marvel Studio's movie domination of theaters and DC Comics' control of the airwaves on the small screen, my experience working on my recently completed "Indestructible" script for Darby Pop/IDW (as well as past Top Cow scripts) and discussing "Jigsaw World," Chapter 1 which has 6 pages left to go over at www.adventuresinpulp.com.

But today is a Xander day.

I have nicknamed Xander's team "Mean Green," because, it's ironic. They are green but far from mean. Overall a great bunch of kids, we had a few behavior issues and issues with kids not paying attention but overall they were supportive and kind to each other, something that could be an issue with some kids in the spring. In the spirit of the "instructional" nature of the fall season, the players are all moved around to get experience. It never gave anyone time to settle in (as you can see with our 1-6-1 record) but no one was stuck in a single position and hopefully got to try something new. For example, while Xander got several innings in at his old standby as catcher, he also got time at First Base, Third Base (pictured at left), Short Stop, Center Field and finally some much needed time as a relief pitcher (pictured above). Defensively he was great. He never threw the ball away and stopped everything hit or thrown his way on the infield. On offense he struggled a little at first which was a surprise since he was making such great contact during summer All-Stars. But he moved from being a contact leadoff hitter to a heart of the order batter, which required a different approach. He made a great comeback after the first few games of the season and started hitting for power. Every hit he got was a multi-base hit (including multiple triples and his first homerun on 9/25) slugging an amazing 857. I wish I could take credit, but it really has been his work ethic.  He puts in the time, and it shows.

Speaking of work ethic, Xander is setting his own study schedule doing his homework first, this is a major thing. With practices and his long commute, time is at a premium in our household. He makes the effort to make school work a priority and it shows. His first report card for the year came in with straight As. He was even recently offered a position in H.O.T.S. (Higher Order Thinking Skills) an elite math club for 5th graders that gets the kids ready for Pre-Algebra courses. He has also worked in time for a large role in the school play (pictured at right as Col. Samuel Patton of the Union Army) and being part of the school Musical Troupe. He even got to spend two weeks working on the school news broadcasts as both an anchor and weatherman. He's also is a member of the safety patrol and running club.

Wrestling was my thing, so I have avoided pushing it on Xander.  We moved him around trying everything, football, soccer, basketball, swimming, and baseball. He locked on to the latter because he had a natural eye for the ball. Not a lot of natural athleticism mind you, but that you can get around with hard work (see his work ethic above). If you are going to excel at baseball you gotta have that eye for the ball. We were completely ready to join an indoor workout facility for winter and go and work out 3-4 times a week, but Xander wanted to try wrestling. Naturally, I'm all for it. I played just about everything growing up, but wrestling was by far the hardest. It was also my favorite. By the time I was a sophomore in high school I gave up every other sport just to focus on that one. I hope he likes it, after two weeks he has run hot and cold picking some things up quickly and other times struggling. He will probably get the stuffing beat out of him this year, but if he sticks with it, it will keep him in in amazing condition and make him even tougher than catching as a baseball player will. This is something I can really help him with. I was a good wrestler, far better than I was at baseball (who am I kidding, I sucked at baseball). Pictured above: On top, me in the District Championship finals in 1991 and bottom Xander from his second day of practice Oct 21.

For such a happy kid, Xander's tastes run to the dark. He loves older horror movies and tv shows. He has to be the only 10 year old who has watched the original silent Lon Chaney "The Phantom of the Opera" movie multiple times. He has worked his way through all the Universal and Hammer classics. He loves vampires, werewolves and zombies. (He once talked me and his mom into going to a local cemetery and doing a test run on a shot for shot remake of "Night of the Living Dead." He loves it, so naturally he is all about Halloween. He loves planning the costume and usually does a classic character. At right you can see his innovation at combining his Union Army costume from his school play to become a Civil War Zombie for Halloween this year.

Yup, it's been a busy fall, full of baseball, music, math, monsters and grappling.

Here are some past Halloween photos in order: Last year Frankenstein's Monster. My personal favorite the Wolfman '12 The Mummy '11, Dracula '10 and just to show he still has his dad's geek infested heart Capt. Rex '09 from Star Wars: The Clone Wars (although I joke that he looks more like Rick Moranis as Darkhelmet from Spaceballs).

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