Well that was real mature...

Well that was real mature...

Thursday, April 23, 2015

From Grappling on the Mats to Diamond Thief to Treading the Boards

The pace of life never really slows down. Especially if you have kids. The older Xander gets, the busier he he seems to get. Wrestling. Baseball. Theater. Some days I feel like I need an assistant to keep HIS schedule straight.

Yup, that's me going for my second District title waaaaay back in '91.
Xander ended his first season of wrestling last month. He alternated between 70lbs. and 75lbs. weight classes, and did okay for a rookie. When he stepped on the the mat he alternated from looking impressive to looking lost. He ended the season with an 11-20 record. As a hard core wrestler myself I was proud to see him out there. I don't think there is anything to compare with it in terms of pressure, physicality and toughness. No matter what you do, if you walk into a wrestling room at the beginning of the season and walk out at the end, regardless of your record, you are better. Not just better athletically, but emotionally. Taking an ass kicking daily, will toughen you up inside and out. It's a sport where you are constantly pushing yourself beyond what you thought you could do. I think the only thing that could be harder would be military training. I'm the first to admit I'm tough on Xander when he messes up, and I hold very high expectations of him. Conversely, I cheer the loudest when he does well and am first to step up for him when he is getting the shaft. Too many kids today are coddled, but conversely too many kids have zero support systems. As typical Americans we seem to swing from one extreme to the other. But I digress...

Xander going for 3rd at the Bristol Brawl Jan. 4th.
Xander. Wrestling. He started the duel meet part of the season with a rough 1-6 record but then went into tournament part season earning one 4th place, four 3rd place wins, two 2nd place finishes, and took the Gold in two tournaments. Considering some kids are starting in kindergarten these days. I was impressed with how hard he wanted to work and how well he ended up. One of the dads at the first practice was, ironically, the Varsity team captain of my high school team the first year I wrestled back in middle school. He gave me good advice: "Relax when they lose. Any kid who wins more than he loses his first year, is wrestling the wrong kids." He was right,  but sometimes it was just hard to watch.

After wrestling, Xander went straight into Baseball, returning to last year's team. I helped out as an assistant coach last year but was asked to take over as the manager this year because the previous manager had one of those work schedules that just made it too difficult for him to be there. I jumped at it because I had gotten so frustrated with seeing kids who struggled get left behind to play only in the outfield and/or sit the bench. Everybody plays and everybody sits out on our team. Every kid rotates into the infield. Sure the more advanced kids will play regularly at the more difficult positions. Everyone will play or learn at least 3-5 positions by the end of the season. Sure, it will make us less competitive but in the long run, the kids will learn more and have more fun. But again, I digress...

Xander just before his CF RBI double in the April 11th season opener.
Xander. Baseball. He is off to a fantastic start. Four games in and he has 1 double, 3 singles and 3 walks with his only non-hit being a ground out to first in game 3. He is already 16 for 17 in stolen bases. He played the season opener behind the plate where he got one third of our outs nailing runners attempting to steal. Game 2 he got his very first start as pitcher. I was stunned at how well he did. I have always said he is a far superior catcher than a pitcher. He has accuracy but not power. It can very easily become batting practice for the other team when he's on the mound. He pitched 3 2/3 innings before hitting the pitch limit of 75 pitches. He got a no-decision because it was 5-5 when he came off the mound. In that time he only walked 3 batters, struck out 7 batters and only gave up 5 hits. It was an amazing start. In Game 3 he played first base where it seemed the opposition were all hitting the ball (lefties and late swings) right at him allowing him to get 4 outs on his own including a double play where he caught a pop-up and nailed a runner before they could get back to 2B. Game 4 he started at Short Stop but ended up pitching 2 and 2/3 of relief. Unfortunately it was not as strong as his first outing to say the least. He gave up 12 hits, walked 7 and struck out 2, which is closer to what I expected. Sadly, we are pretty weak in the pitching department so my little catcher may be one of our main pitchers much to the delight of several other team managers I am sure.

Sadly he is going to miss Game 5. Practice starts on Theatre Bristol's production of Les Miserables. which bring us to...

The first cast meeting of Les Miserables. (Xander is in black on the left).
Xander. Theatre. Ever since he first saw Les Miserables, he has wanted to play the role of Gavroche. What kid wouldn't, he gets a solo and (spoiler alert!) a death scene. When we heard Theatre Bristol was going to have a performance right in our own backyard, we knew we could not stand in his way. Considering his voice is starting to deepen, we knew it would in fact be his first chance to play the character would be his last chance. Even now we are starting to worry since he is occasionally sounding like Peter on that episode of Brady Bunch when he tries to hit the high notes. He will be sharing the role with another child (common practice to double cast kids roles). He's excited. right now it appears he will have the opening night performance. We have OUR tickets.

So it was a busy winter that turned into a busy spring and will undoubtedly morph into a busy summer, I'm not even touching on all his school related activities like safety patrol, troupe performances, and the school news/weather broadcasts. At least in the summer he won't have to worry about keeping that straight "A" average he manages. That's the really impressive part. But he is an impressive kid.

He just needs a personal assistant to keep up with it all.

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