Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Long Day But A Good One

My mother has told me on more than one occasion that just listening to our daily schedule (from across the country) makes her tired.  With the aid of a color-coded whiteboard in the kitchen that helps us keep track of who needs to be where when and with what equipment, we manage, but I think yesterday might have been a stretch even for us.

8:40: Basketball pictures for Thing One.  Then a confab with his coach followed by a road trip to an away game that started at 10.  Himself took this detail, then ran some errands afterward.

9:10/9:20: Basketball pictures for Thing Two and Petunia, followed by their usual practice and scrimmage.  This one was all mine since I'm a coach.

We got home at 11.  The other two, around noon.  The art show (the exhibit of pieces by artists from the kids' school, including Thing One and Petunia) started at 2 in a town half an hour away: we had time for lunch, showers and getting the kids nicely dressed and were off again to the art museum.  When we got home, we had about an hour before Thing One had to be at his team's winter soccer training (5-6PM, every Saturday.)  Himself is an assistant coach, so he has to be at these practices too.

Then, because tomorrow is Himself's birthday and tonight is the Super Bowl, we went out for a nice dinner as a family.  We had 7PM reservations at a lovely inn down the street, and in the 'real' restaurant part of it, not even in the bar area.   Overall, sounds like a recipe for disaster, right??  Believe it or not, it was one of the best days we've had in a long time.

Our team's basketball practice went really well.  I have two or three boys who are already very good players, so for them practice is just skill refinement.  Then there are a few at the other end of the spectrum who are just beginning to figure out how the game works, and the rest are in the middle somewhere.  Petunia is one of the kids in the middle, and she's made a lot of progress: she's quick and has the right idea, but her ball-handling still needs work.  (At least she is no longer running around the court while holding the ball in both hands!!)  One of the beginners is an adorable cherubic blond five year-old.  He has a pretty good shot but started the season with no game awareness at all, especially on defense--he'd just be wandering around the court instead of staying with his man.  Yesterday, that child almost succeeded in breaking up a pass between two opponents, and I couldn't have been prouder of his heads-up play if I was his mother.  As a coach, I feel like I can make a lot more difference with the kids who have more to learn, and it's great to see the improvement that these kids in particular are making as the season goes on. I have one other beginner who needs more work on fundamentals than we have time for in the practices with the schedule the way it is, so starting next week his mom is going to bring him to practice fifteen minutes early every week and we'll do a few extra things before everyone else arrives.

The art show was lovely, and I wrote about the highlight of that yesterday: the art teacher's comment that Thing One's focus is improving.  (Hallelujah.)  Apparently all the running he's doing in basketball is paying off, too--this was the second week in a row that Himself came home from soccer practice commenting favorably on his fitness level relative to his teammates'.  And while he was at practice, I had time to put together five new geocache containers and get one placed in the tree where it will be residing: when I get the remaining four out (i.e., whenever the hell it stops snowing here) it will bring the total of caches I 'own' up to 13.

The really amazing thing is that none of these good things were the highlight of the day: that honor would have to go to dinner, believe it or not.  You would think that taking three young children to a nice white-tablecloth restaurant at 7PM after that busy day would be asking for meltdowns, and you'd be right under ordinary circumstances.  Nevertheless, those kids were ANGELS.  Thing One and Petunia are usually pretty good; Thing Two is the wild card, between volume issues and personal space issues and silly voices and wiggling around and I don't know what all.  I have no idea what got into him last night, but he could not possibly have behaved better.  He even tried a new food (fish and chips with tartar sauce) and loved it.  The icing on the cake came when the gentleman from the older couple sitting at the table behind us (a total stranger) stopped on his way out of the restaurant to compliment the three of them!

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