Wednesday, January 31, 2018

#SBRLLR: The Devilfish & the Value of Delusion (Part 6)

Through hard work and an effort of will, I continued to improve.  When I swam with the Devilfish, I competed hard against Brian and the other kids.  When I swam on my own, I pushed myself constantly, keeping my goals clear in my mind.  I tried to make every workout count, and I dropped time consistently in my best events.  I turned thirteen towards the end of seventh grade, and shortly thereafter, I made my first “A” time—in the 100 Butterfly.  This was made more impressive because I made that first cut time in my new, older age group, 13-14 year olds.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Ski Butternut

Ski Butternut is a small, family friendly ski area located in the Berkshire Mountain town of Great Barrington, MA.  The mountain is affordable and relatively close to Coastal Connecticut, and we’ve spent a lot of time there as a result since last season’s triumphant return to the slopes.

Monday, January 29, 2018

The XFL is Coming Back. Where to Put Its Teams?

The XFL is coming back, and I for one am delighted.  This world has long needed a minor league of professional football, there’s plenty of room for it in the spring and early summer sports seasons, and Vince McMahon and company got very close to getting the brand off the ground the first time they tried this, way back in 2001.  This despite lots and lots of issuesmost of which have been well-documented.  This second go-round looks about as well-funded as the first attempt and seems far better-conceived.  With all the cable and Internet sports networks out there nowadays, and with all of them just aching for football content, the XFL appears to fill a void in the national consciousness that is in dire need of filling.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Swim: 3800 Aerobic Pace

Did a long slow endurance set yesterday, and didn't much feel like I had my best stuff.  But swimming tired is an important learned skill, so instead of cutting my workout short or lengthening the intervals, I just pushed through, trying to keep the effort long but moderately paced.

It felt very much like the back-half of a long slow distance run of the kind where it's a struggle just to keep your head up and your feet moving.  But that was kind of the point.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Crunch: Hitting Our First Milestone

I was on the train home from work last Thursday night when my daughter texted me.
Thursday's texts
This was something of a milestone.  It was the first time that Hannah had ever pushed me to go to the gym.  After weeks of my pushing her, it seemed that we’d finally started a self-sustaining reaction.  She wanted to be there.  She actually wanted to get stronger.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

#SBRLLR: The Devilfish & the Value of Delusion (Part 5)

The problem wasn’t just that some of New Bern’s small-town Cool Kids refused to accept a stranger from another state.  They weren’t trying to be mean.  I’d simply carried too much of my former life with me when we moved, and I couldn’t bring myself to let it go.  I couldn’t bring myself to be the kind of kid who would’ve fit in within New Bern’s closely held values systems and unique social norms.  Not down in my soul.  This created a gap that no amount of Cool Kid clothes and confident swagger could ever hope to bridge, new girlfriend or no.  I was still faking it, and the kids who most owned the identity of the town itself could smell that from a mile away.
So I kept swimming.  
In my mind, this was how I saw myself.  This was how my life made sense.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Army Lacrosse Preview: An Entry-Level Look at the 2018 Season

Let’s get this out of the way up front: I am not anyone’s idea of an expert regarding lacrosse.  
My kids and I started watching Army Lax in 2016.  Army Sports comp’ed us a pair of tickets to that year’s Army-Navy game when we re-upped our Football season tickets, and although the Black Knights lost a close contest in overtime that year, we still had a blast at the game.  We watched Army Lax a few more times that season—whenever the team showed up CBS Sports—and we watched most of the 2017 season via PatriotLeague.TV, CBS Sports, and/or Twitter, depending on who was broadcasting the game.  We were in the stands once again for Army’s heroic come-from-behind overtime victory over Notre Dame last year as well, and now here we are, eagerly awaiting the new season in 2018.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

#SBRLLR: The Devilfish & the Value of Delusion (Part 4)

Swimming by oneself is hardly ideal, but in some ways, it helped me.  Coach Pete would give me stacks of workouts written longhand on yellow legal paper.  I took these back to the country club and spent the next few days working through them.  I swam every day, usually for ninety minutes, putting in something like 3500 yards per workout.  Pete had a tendency to put me through fifties and hundreds of stroke work when I was on my own, perhaps intentionally pushing my focus towards butterfly.  At the Devilfish pool, by comparison, we did longer freestyle sets at a more controlled, aerobic pace6.  This was brilliant design philosophy.  Pete gave me aerobically challenging sets to do on my own, but they were sets that would keep the mind of a twelve-year-old boy engaged and occupied as he swam by himself.  It was rare that I saw anyone when I swam at the country club, so I needed the push that those workouts provided.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Workout Notes: 3700 Yards Swim & Chest / Shoulder Lift

Got in the pool twice last week.  Saturday's workout went about 3600.  The pool was warm again -- about 83 degrees -- which always creates some challenges.  I decided to do some aerobic work and try to close it up with just a bit of speed.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

4 Corner Billiards, Bridgeport, CT

With our kids headed to Rockin' Jump for a couple of hours with our church youth group last night, Sally and I decided to shoot some pool.  A quick search turned up 4 Corner Billiards in downtown Bridgeport as pretty much the only pool hall within easy driving distance of our house.  We decided to check the place out and make a date of it.

Rack 'em up!

Friday, January 12, 2018

5 Things on a Friday: The Case of the Roll-Up Television

Happy Friday, everyone.
The good news is that the ludicrously frigid cold that has enveloped the Northeast for the past month of so seems finally to have passed.  The bad news is that it is supposed to rain all damn day today, potentially ruining what otherwise would have been a truly excellent ski weekend in the Berkshires.
Will we, or won't we?

Thursday, January 11, 2018

NFL Playoff Preview: Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots

This weekend marks the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs, and as you might expect, there are a couple of compelling matchups on offer.  I think both Jags at Steelers and Saints at Eagles offer the road teams a better than average chance to advance.  But if there’s one matchup that’s mostly flown under the radar, it’s Titans at Patriots.
No one gives Tennessee a chance.
As a long time Titans fan, I’m wondering… is this fair, or should we just go ahead and crown the Patriots right now?

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

#SBRLLR: The Devilfish & the Value of Delusion (Part 3)

New Bern didn’t have a swim team.  Kids water-skied or swam in the local rivers, and we weren’t far from the Outer Banks and the beach, but that was it.  The local country club had a competition-sized pool, thank God, but it didn’t have a club team—or even lane lines.  The pool itself went mostly unused.  It existed as a decoration, to make the club members feel good about the club because it had a pool.  A bigger-sized town might have had a team, but we weren’t close to any big towns.  The best, closest available option turned out to be Camp Lejeune's age group team, the Devilfish5, located some forty-five minutes away by car.
Mom and I drove out to practice one night after school.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Weekend Workout Notes: 4000 Yards Swimming + Weight Room Work

Publishing this weekend's workout schedule in case you're looking for some inspiration, either in the pool or in the weight room.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Saturday News & Notes: Tinkering with the Layout & Archives

I've finally fixed the links on the sides of the blog.  While I was at it, I added a link to the Rival Angels' "Halloween Special" that I wrote for my friend Alan Evans a couple of years ago and added an archives and a "word cloud" to help you navigate the blog's various archived topics.

My very brief stint writing for Rival Angels.
In case you ever wanted to know how I'd do as a
pro-wrestling promoter. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Crunch: New Year’s Resolutionaries

Hannah and I went to the gym together this week—for the first time in a very long time.  I’ve been trying to get her to go with me for the past several months now, and I’m glad that she finally agreed.  Spoiler alert: my eldest could use a little more exercise.  She does gymnastics once per week, and she does basic calisthenic conditioning a little more often, but her routine is not quite a lifestyle.  It’s fine as far as it goes, but it’s not necessarily enough to ensure her long term health, nor is she consistently building the habits that will make her a lifelong athlete as an adult.  Her timing was extremely fortuitous.  Crunch has been running a deal for high schoolers ($100 for a year with student ID), and this month in particular, the sign-up fee is just $1—not just for high schoolers, but for everyone.
That is awesome.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

#SBRLLR: The Devilfish & the Value of Delusion (Part 2)

I got a brief reprieve two weeks later.  We headed back to Northern Virginia for the NVSL All-Star meet, and I got to see all my old friends for a single, glorious weekend.  It was wonderful, but we all knew that it couldn’t last.