Apologies for the nearly two-week hiatus. Not that anyone would have noticed, but just in case you did it's not because I went into a marathon performance-induced depression or cave or anything. Just some busy time and preparing for an exciting event coming up next weekend....
Looking back, Thanksgiving weekend was great and I can't believe it's now December. You have so much more time when you and your significant other are not in serious training and/or coaching. We had a great weekend with Thursday at my family and then spent the rest of the extended weekend (no school Monday because of the first day of hunting season in PA) getting stuff done around the house that we've put off since last off-season (aka last November) and relaxing.
As far as cleaning, we have several categories of cleaning levels at the Shutt house depending on the weekend--short clean (the bare minimum), long clean (a little more detailed), and crazy clean (aka spring clean that happens when we can fit it in). Well, we were able to fit in the crazy clean for a few rooms of the house and just have a few more rooms to go. We should be able to fit it in by....February.
Last weekend we also saw 'The Blind Side' starring Sandra Bullock as the mom of an at-risk youth who grew up to be a good football player that then played at Ole Miss and is a rookie with the Baltimore Ravens this year. Amazing story and makes me sad to think of all the youth that don't get that type of opportunity and slip through the cracks. You just wonder what can be done to reach out to all of them.
Also last weekend the runner from our high school that was the state runner-up competed in the Foot Locker Regional XC meet up in New York. He ended up finishing 5th and the top 10 all qualify for an all-expenses paid trip to San Diego for the Foot Locker National Meet. There are 4 regions in the US, meaning that only 40 boys and 40 girls in the entire US qualify for this race each year. Pretty exciting and elite company. Beth had a few college teammates who made it to nationals and one teammate who actually won the national race one year. Also, Bri is a former Foot Locker national competitor.
Anyway, after talking to him at school when we got back on Tuesday, it sounded like he was going to be travelling out there solo. So, as my brain tends to do in these situations, I start scheming/investigating the feasibility of making the trip out to be a support/coach/spectathlete to him. I know, big sacrifice to leave western PA where the bank thermometer sign board this morning stated it was minus-2 degrees (Celsius) and spend a weekend in San Diego!!
All the things to quickly investigate and take in to consideration--air fare, rental car, hotel, food, parking.....I researched and came to the conclusion that it may be feasible, but would need a little help (since Foot Locker only sends the runner--no $ for a parent or coach). So, the rest of this past week was spent investigating various avenues for funding and donations. I found out that, since this was technically not a school-affiliated event, no funding was really available from official school resources even though many different school officials were very supportive and excited about him qualifying. Their hands were just tied.
Fortunately, I was able to connect with a superb alumnus of the XC/Track program who does a lot of travelling for her job and she was so nice to donate the miles for my round-trip flight. Then, the wonderful Marit made available their couch to crash on for the weekend. Next thing you know, I'm heading out to support our runner at the race thanks to many generous people and our cross country program. I'm so thankful for all the great help and support I received for this unique and prestigious opportunity. I hope we have more runners qualify in the future, but this surely won't come along every year and I'm glad I'm able to be a part of it.
So, this week will be time to finalize the plans and then on a plane Friday morning for the big race on Saturday. If you're into following high school running, this will be webcast live here starting at 8am Pacific (11am for the easterners). Cheer on the three PA qualifiers and I'll be sure to try to take photos (and I even signed out a video camera from the school). However, we all know how distracted I get from being a photographer when I get to cheering/coaching.
The message at church this morning was to make sure you remember 'Christ' during the Christmas season. Not to be a scrooge or discourager of any fun, but just remember Jesus and think about people and where they're at in their lives as you see people out and about at the mall and various places.
How about the college football games on Saturday? I guess it's going to be Alabama vs. Texas (or TCU,BSU, or Cincy). What exciting games! It started with the Pitt-Cincinnati game where both teams kept shooting themselves in the foot but it ended up an edge-of-your-seat 45-44 game. Florida-Bama was pretty good also, but the Tide was just the better team that day. Also, it has been so neat to see Tim Tebow and his public acknowledgement of his faith over the past four years. His eye black stickers currently have the verse John 16:33-
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
Great words to help keep perspective of the big picture during the intense competitions.
And the Texas-Nebraska game was a nail-biter. The Huskers' defense sure made things hard, but couldn't quite hold off Texas at the end. I was a little disappointed with Colt McCoy's clock management in the final minute, but I guess all you need is that one second to get the snap off for the field goal. A win is a win. I'll be publishing my 2009 BCS Playoff bracket proposal in the upcoming weeks. I worked it up last weekend based off my 2008 proposal and need to tweak a couple of things based on the results of this past weekend.
Have a good week and next post may be sunny pictures from San Diego.....my third weekend there in since March. It's becoming like a second home!!