Friday, April 27, 2018

#SBRLLR: Through the Looking Glass (Part 1)

“It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things. “
― Theodore Roosevelt
Mom flew ahead to Tampa to try to figure out where we were going to live while Dad stayed in San Diego to wrap up his last weeks of battalion command.  Pa Pa Dan met me in San Diego towards the end of July, and together we embarked on a week-long road trip to Tennessee, our family’s minivan stuffed to bursting with family treasures and our two golden retrievers.  The dogs rode comfortably in state between our television and my mother’s silver chest.  Mom and I then spent a week at her parent’s house in Tullahoma before the two of us lit out together for Florida.  We crossed the state line late one summer afternoon and stopped at the Welcome Center.  I grabbed a complimentary cup of freshly squeezed orange juice and marveled at the palm trees and the flatly tropical terrain.  
Once again, I’d landed in a foreign country.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Swimming: 4600 yards, & I Feel Better.

We've been training pretty steadily for the Swim Across the Sound for the past two months or so.  That is, me and a few of my teammates from the Army Swim Team back in the day.  We've all been training and trading workouts, trying to keep each other motivated and on point.  I'm still not sure who all is going to show up for the event, but it's been good for me personally.  I mean, I don't think I'm speaking out of turn in saying that I miss my teammates--and that I like having an excuse to talk swimming with them.

Thursday, April 19, 2018


Okemo is one of Vermont’s largest ski resorts, located roughly halfway between Mount Snow and Killington.  That puts it something like four hours’ drive from my house in Coastal Connecticut.  The mountain offers some 121 trails spread across three separate peaks and 667 skiable acres, all served by 20 chair lifts.  This breaks down into 39 beginner (green) trails, 45 intermediate (blue) trails, 27 advanced (black) trails, and 10 expert (double-black) trails.  This is a lot of skiable terrain, making it easy to lose oneself amongst the resort’s sprawling lift and trail system.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

#SBRLLR: Satisfaction, Not Success (Part 3)

Water polo season ended at about the same time that my relationship with Cam fizzled.  My friends Jeff, Jennifer, and Trisha all left the Vista Swim Team shortly thereafter.  This put me in a tough spot, though I couldn’t exactly blame Jennifer or her family.  Her career had stagnated with Mr. Malone, and she possessed entirely too much talent to let herself just sort of muddle along through the rest of her career.  Her parents felt that she’d gone about as far as she could go with the Vista Swim Team, and they were probably right.  They took half the team with them when they left, however, establishing a gigantic multi-family carpooling effort by way of sharing the daily forty-five minute one-way treks out to Mt. Caramel that joining their new swim team required.  Through this they got access to vastly superior facilities and to a coach who’d put swimmers into the Olympics.  That was probably worth it for Jennifer, but a lot of other kids got pulled along in her wake, and poor Jeff spent almost all of his time behind the wheel of his old beater hatchback for the next few years.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Mount Snow

Mount Snow is my favorite Vermont-area ski resort.  It’s also the southernmost of the large Vermont ski resorts and the resort with the best artificial snowmaking.  A big part of what I like about is in its location; it’s maybe sixty miles closer than Killington, making it a much better destination for single-day sessions or quick overnighters.  Granted, Mount Snow is not as large as Killington or Okemo and has fewer trails than Stratton on about the same acreage.  Still, with 86 runs spread across 588 skiable acres on four separate faces, it’s not exactly small...

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

#SBRLLR: Satisfaction, Not Success (Part 2)

Though I pined for Layne, it was a girl named Cam who actually showed up at my house to take me out to the movies that year.  Cam was a recent transfer student from Idaho, and being just a little older than I was, she’d already gotten her driver’s license.  We’d met through mutual friends and had already run a 5K road race together.  This, however, was our first official date.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Crunch: Knowing When to Get Help

I had a physical a few years ago during which the doctor said, “You have to be careful when you train.  You know, you’re not Lance Armstrong.”
“Yeah,” I replied, “but I can train as hard as he does… at my level, anyway.”

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Saturday Musings: Yankees, Army Football, and others...

I miss football.  Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if the vaunted Yankees were playing a little better, but at 4-4 with half the roster nursing injuries, we're not off to the start that a lot of Yankee fans were looking for.  So...

Friday, April 6, 2018

Army Football Preview: Spring Speculation

Given the information that’s been trickling out of Army Football’s spring training camp and ESPN’s just-released Football Power Index (FPI) rankings for the coming season, my sense is that after two years of relative success, the Black Knights face a “prove it” season for most of the national football audience.  If Coach Jeff Monken and company can finish with nine or more wins, retain the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy, and hold serve against rising programs like Duke, Buffalo, and Eastern Michigan, then I expect the program will take a major step forward on the national stage, and Coach Monken will himself become one of the hottest coaching prospects for would-be Power 5 coaching vacancies heading into 2019.  However, the program first has to replace a lot of graduating talent, and that’s not always an easy trick.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Crunch: Holding On Tightly

I’ve been back in the weight room for a few months, back in the water for a few weeks, and running regularly for just over a fortnight.  I finally feel good.  I don’t feel quite like myself in the water just yet, but I feel better than I did.  And I caught myself having fun on the treadmill yesterday, so much so that I started doing tempo intervals at a 7:30/mile pace.  That’s not too bad.  I feel like I’m finally getting there.
But man, it also feels like it’s been a hard road back.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

#SBRLLR: Satisfaction, Not Success (Part 1)

“Whenever you get to win, you feel the satisfaction of all of your hard work, all the sacrifices, all the blood, sweat and tears. It feels right and makes you realize that you are really doing the right thing. “
― Abby Wambach
At the awards ceremony that ended my freshman year, I found myself standing on stage in front of Fallbrook’s entire student body.  Several friends stood alongside me—a fellow water polo player, a two-sport track and soccer star who’d been in my Geometry class, and a pair of standout junior varsity football players.  We’d all been nominated for the Sarkis Spanjian award, given to the school’s most outstanding scholar/athlete.  The awards committee nominated five freshmen every year, and we were meant to compete over the course of our high school careers to determine an eventual winner.  That winner would earn a nice little scholarship and widespread acclaim.  Even as mere nominees, a picture of the five of us landed in the local paper that week, but I was one of only two who’d already earned a varsity letter.