New Runnings

New experiences … outdoor track meets.

Tin participated in the winter indoor track, to keep in shape since his soccer team wasn’t playing much last year.  Turned out that many of the athletes were also filling in the time by running.

Well, it turned out that Tin liked running.  He was fast, and could hold his own.  And of course, there was the challenge of catching that other runner ahead of him.

Our first outdoor meet turned out nice, weather-wise.  A little breezy, but the sun was out, and it was warm.

High-tech running shoes … See that dial on the sides?  That’s to tighten the wire-thin ‘laces’.  They looked more like strips of nylon thread.  Dial right to tighten the laces; pull it out to ‘undo’ the laces.  High-tech indeed.

The next day, he had a soccer game.  Again, warm weather.  Dare we hope that spring is really staying?

And of course, after the game, the boys were hungry.  And while walking on the sidewalk, they came upon a vendor selling icees and fresh mango – so they got two bags of pickled mango.

Yes … spring and summer are here …

 

Grey Skies on a Sunny Morning

We were looking forward to a weekend tournament in Virginia, thinking that it would be warmer than it is here in NYC.  Wrong ….

We were out on the fields, in blustery winds and 0-20 degree weather in the early mornings … Us parents had three and four and maybe five layers on – the boys had two to three layers … And spring is next week already?  Oh wait … we came back home and there was a nor’easter snowstorm-blizzard waiting for us!  We really are having crazy weather these days, right?

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Photo Challenge: Motion

Once in a while I see a photo challenge theme for which I already have something to show.

For this week’s theme, I immediately thought of all those soccer photos that I took.  I’ve shot enough blurry pictures of the boys running to show motion, but not all of them good.

This one, though, remains a favourite of mine.  The sequence shows the run to the ball of the two players ….

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…. then the struggle over the ball – the defender defending and protecting the ball, the other to get to the ball.

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In case you’re wondering, the defense won the ball 🙂

Here’s other photos on motion – dance.  These are Bolivian cultural troupes and their presentation during local festival events.

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They always have such lovely colourful costumes.

Next time I’ll blur their dancing, instead of freezing their movement.

A Tough Loss

The Team played on a frozen field, surrounded by hills and mounds of frozen snow and ice, turned black with dirt and gas fumes.

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In the middle of this cold, freezing winter, my son’s soccer team was signed up to play in the Copa Coca-Cola USA tournament.

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Thankfully, Mother Nature turned the polar vortex away, and the weather was actually warm and spring-like.  Or maybe since temperatures have been below the freezing point for the past several weeks, temperatures in the 40’s was now a balmy spring-like temperature, and the 50’s is spring weather.

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The winner of this regional tournament goes to Los Angeles to play the finals, and if successful, goes on to Brazil’s World Cup as ball boys. We reached the finals here, and lost on sudden death penalty kicks.

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A learning experience for the boys, and specially for my son, who kicked the ball over the goal post on his first penalty kick experience.

A tough loss.  He had tears in his eyes as they broke away to go their separate ways, and only a few teammates came over to console him.  Losses don’t usually affect him this much.  But he really felt this loss this time.  Playing soccer has just been a past time for him, which he enjoyed doing.  Win or lose, he would just laugh at the end of the game and continue with life.  Perhaps this was one game he really wanted to win, with the bonus of travel to Los Angeles.  Or perhaps this is a turning point for him, where he now realizes that at this stage, winning is a little more serious.

It’ll be interesting to see how he moves forward from this.  Even though I talk to him about playing the game hard and doing his best, I was never the one to push him hard about playing soccer; it was more the father. When I feel that the father is unreasonably pushing him too hard (in my eyes), I have to keep reminding him that soccer is not in his son’s blood.  He doesn’t eat, sleep, talk, play soccer.  Pushing him too hard and too far may just make him lose interest in the sport, and make him stop playing.  And then where would we be?  Well, for me, it means that I have more time for my hobbies and crafts.  For the father …. well, he’d be a little lost without soccer every weekend.

With the resilience of youth, Justin has shrugged off the loss even before we drove out of the playing fields’ car park.  He has faced the ribbing and the teasing of the others at practice, with maybe just a little sting.  I hope he and the Team are stronger from this experience.  They’re going to need to be, because we travel to Dallas in April for the Dr. Pepper Dallas Cup, an international youth tournament.  Another opportunity for more learning experiences.

Autumn Blues and Purples

It’s that colorful time of year again … autumn … fall … falling leaves … changing colors … the reds, yellows, oranges and browns …

The boys played on a cool and bright autumn day …

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In between watching the game, I was also gazing around at the changing colors of the trees …

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… across the river …

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… beautiful blue skies …

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… and a red ribbon of leaves winding itself around the tree …

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Walking back to the parking lot, the sun peeks through …

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… and I suddenly glimpse a different splash of color among the fall colors …

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… blues and purples !

I suppose these will later turn into those red wild berries that I see on the trees at the side of the road … or maybe these are after the red berries have come out?

Either way, I now have new colors for my fall color palette … If it looks good in nature, it’s good enough for me.

 

 

Just a Little More

It was a hot and humid weekend.  8 o’clock in the morning and we were hot and bothered already on the sidelines.  Kudos to the boys for being able to run at all !

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The boys played well in their first game.  By the second day, I think the heat had caught up with them.  Yes, they ran, and they did run hard and they tried hard.

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But in the end, they couldn’t keep it up. They needed a little more of everything, probably, to keep them going.

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Other than for the losses, it was a good tournament.  Now they know what they have to work on … We have another tournament in two weeks … sigh …

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That First Game …

I’m back … Hope you all had a good long weekend last week.

We were in a soccer tournament, compressed from two days to three days because of the weather.  The first day was cancelled because of the rainstorms, the second day we played in raw, cold, blustery winds, and the third day we played in hot sun.

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The boys played well, but we missed first place – and a chance to travel to Colorado to represent the region – because we lost on a head-to-head format, rather than a goal differential format.

The boys need to wake up and start playing from the first game.  It seems that the first game is always a warm-up for them, after which they catch their stride and steam-roller over the rest of the teams.  One more item for the learning and discipline process …

And there’s always next year …