Stress levels were high in the AD office as Missy and I went over the injury report. There is nothing more helpless than an athletic director two days before opening night of the basketball season. Everything is scheduled and you are just anxiously waiting to see what the character of the team will be when they step on to the floor. We tried to busy ourselves with spring scheduling, stalking middle school soccer players who haven't returned their jerseys, and reviewing the fall 2020 calendar one more time, but in our minds we stressed about ankle sprains, shin splints and a fever that was running through the Upper School and had hit one of my favorite student-athletes Rachel H'20.
The basketball teams traveled to Salem Academy on Wednesday and Rachel was dressed and ready to lead the girls team. The reason Rachel always stands out to me is I love kids that have great fundamentals. Rachel does all of the little things. Instead swiping at the ball, she moves her feet on defense! Instead of trying to block a shot and fouling, she hustles to the spot and draws a charge. She boxes out her opponent every time there is a shot! On offense she doesn't waste her dribble and although it sometimes seems like she is allergic to shooting the ball, it is often more likely that she sees a teammate that is moving to a better spot, so she throws a bounce pass that would make Pete Carril beam with pride. She sweats the small stuff that no longer gets noticed on Instagram or other self curated highlight shows. She is just a winner that focuses on playing a complete game.
The girls jumped out on Salem Academy. On offense the girls set great shoulder to shoulder screens, and they attacked the boards. You know a team has established its culture when the freshmen get thrown into the first game and you see them doing the hard things also. When Cayton S lost the ball on a breakaway, she didn't hang her head. She sprinted back to the defensive end and was in the right spot to get a steal. Hollis H stepped in at center due to captain Ava C getting in early foul trouble, and Hollis stood tall, she closed out on shooters and she boxed out. And Rachel H? Two days removed from being home in her PJ's with a 102 fever? She played every single minute. She finished with 10 points, 3 rebounds, 1 deflection. But when you watch the film you would see her on every rep doing the little things that lead to the team's 32-20 victory.
The boys struggled during their first game against Salem Academy losing 54-36. The coaches were in the film room early the next day identifying what they need to improve on. After watching both of our teams on film after one game I know there is a lot of basketball left this season. The coaches will continue to stress the importance of taking pride in doing the little things that lead to success.
I am fortunate to be one of the 5th grade boys coaches. We had our first practice on Wednesday and the drills that I was in charge of were all about what I saw from our varsity teams. As I wrapped up my drill on closing out and moving your feet instead of trying to block shots or steal the ball, I huddled up the boys and told them I hope some day they are on this court playing for a league championship. And maybe they will be as good as Rachel H.
Thank you! Sitting in an office all day can really suck the life out of you. That is why Thursday was so amazing. As I sat in front of my computer, alum Stephen London'09 stopped by to donate his old ski racing equipment to the team. I hadn't seen Stephen since 2009 and it was so amazing to reconnect. He shared with me how much skiing, soccer, his teachers and coaches positively affected him and how he had started to coach soccer so he could pass it on. It was like rocket fuel to get back behind the desk and keep working. Our alumni are amazing. They come back to cheer on their former teammates, like Stephen, they donate gear to the program, but more importantly they take the what they learned here at OES and share it with the greater community.
For four years of high school I had to walk across a small pedestrian bridge that connected my high school campus to the football practice field. Before you could cross over Saddle Brook River to practice you saw the same words painted on the pavement, "Choose To Lead." Every year Coach Johnson freshly painted those words in white paint so that they popped off the grey pavement.
Five years ago Missy Smith chose to lead. After hearing multiple times from colleagues from around the state that no one was doing anything to help develop the leadership skills of Oregon female student-athletes, she announced she would create a program. This weekend will be the 4th Oregon Girls Sports Leadership Summit. Over six hundred young women from all over Oregon will arrive on campus to develop new skills, attend workshops, network, and listen to other women share their stories of discovering and developing their leadership skills. It is an amazing day and our OES student-athletes not only attend but lead discussions and break out activities. How often do you hear people talk about developing leaders, but can't explain how they do it? Missy created an event that provides the instruction, mentorship, and inspiration but most importantly provides hands-on experience for a female student-athlete to develop her leadership voice. To learn more about this amazing event check out the information online: https://www.oes.edu/athletics/girls-leadership-summit
Last Saturday our girls and boys soccer teams competed in the OSAA State Championship game. The girls loss 2-1 to Catlin and our boys fell 3-1 to Catlin also. It was a special day. There were so many moments that filled me with pride. Watching Sophie C play her final HS match after fracturing her knee earlier this season, attending the Tailgate Crew's parking lot party between matches and seeing a senior class focused on celebrating their classmates' achievements, watching both teams handle defeat with such character and respect. Congratulations to Catlin Gabel on their championship seasons. Thank you to our student-athletes for doing such an amazing job representing OES. Seniors thank you for four inspiring years of fall sports.
Thank you to John Holloran, Kate Lieber, Donna Morrow and Jim Fitzhenry for taking photos this fall! Thank you to Todd Mansfield for broadcasting soccer matches on Mixlr. Thank you to all of our team parents who helped organize team dinners, extra snacks for road trips, and everything else that makes the season so special! Lastly, thank you to our bus drivers for getting the student-athletes to and from events safely.
Congratulations to 8th graders, Mia G and Jackson R for competing at the USATF Oregon Association Junior Olympics Championships on Saturday. Moving from a 3,000M to a 4K both 8th graders had exceptional performances. Jackson finished 35th and Mia finished 24th. Mia's younger brother Mateo(4th grade) entered for his age division and finished 11th. Way to go Aardvarks!
Alex Slusher'19 spent last weekend in Columbus, Ohio with the U-19 USA mens lacrosse team. Team USA had two scrimmages and then they had to cut their roster down from 32 to 26. Alex served as captain for the second scrimmage and made the latest round of cuts. The next training session will be in January in San Antonio for Team USA. Alex is currently a freshman at Princeton University and will play lacrosse for the Tigers this spring.
They have done it again. Our boys and girls varsity soccer teams will play in the State Championships tomorrow at Liberty HS. The girls kick-off at 10:30am and the boys follow at 1:00PM. I went back to see what the last 10 years have looked like. Our boys have made it to the final game 5 times during that span. Seven different Oregon programs have made it to the championship since 2010 with five different champions. The OES girls soccer team have played in the final game 9 years in a row. That is a staggering accomplishment. They have the opportunity to win their 8th state championship in a row!
At the same time I never plan to take it for granted. Their success comes from hard work, commitment, and sacrifice. As soon as our student-athletes assume they are entitled to make it to this day is when it all falls apart. It is going to be great weather for soccer. Be sure to join us to cheer on the Aardvarks as both teams face Catlin Gabel. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students/seniors.
Tuesday Road Trip!
Sometimes being a teacher, a coach, and definitely an athletic director can make you feel like you are doing the same thing over and over again. Missy and I talk about the Groundhog Day feeling. If you do not know what I am referring to then you need to watch the Bill Murray film, Groundhog Day. It was filmed in my wife’s hometown of Woodstock, Illinois and it is about a weather broadcaster who wakes up every morning doomed to live the same day over again. The same people say the same thing. The same events happen at the same time. At first Bill Murray spends the first half of the film feeling trapped and bored. But as the movie progresses, he starts to see the amazing opportunities that present themselves, and each time he wakes up to the same Sonny and Cher song on his clock radio he does his best to embrace the day with a renewed positivity. It sounds hokey, but when I woke up to my alarm, “Doctor My Eyes” covered by the Jackson 5, I told myself I needed that same positivity as Bill Murray. The road trip to Medford and back can seem long, but there is no guarantee that I am going to have another one. I also know that this is the only one I get with this team. So I figured I would keep my laptop open and I would try to write down the magical moments. Driving south on I-5 I experienced a Groundhog Day moment. One year ago to the day I was in the same seat on a Charter Bus heading south to Medford with the girls varsity soccer team. He tries to see all of the beautiful things that happen and connect with each person. He strives to make the day better for everyone else which makes his experience better.
Below are my notes:
We are four hours from Medford. The girls are relaxing as best as they can and their laughter is infectious. It is the kind of laughter that I don’t hear at OES when I eat with colleagues or talk with parents. It is pure joy. No one is telling jokes. They are jut sharing daily stories and retelling past adventures. It is just teammates, friends excited to be with each other, finding joy in their shared experiences. I don’t think I paid attention to this part of the trip last season. I was focused on answering emails and prepping basketball practice schedules. I was so focused on the logistics of the event I didn’t realize the power of the journey.
Oregon is a big state. The girls continue to laugh and tell stories. Some move seats to retell or share something specific, but mostly the stories are for everyone. No one is wearing headphones now. We are still a ways away, but the music is started to play a little louder. Does any parent like their child’s music?
I just got a text from a ’19 OES parent. “One year ago today! Go ‘varks!” She let me know how much she misses being on the sideline cheering with other families, team dinners, watching her daughter compete. I remember how much my own dad and mom were a little lost after I was done playing. I had moved to California to teach and they didn’t have something on the calendar for every Saturday of the spring season. When I returned to NJ to coach football and lacrosse, my dad was always in the stands. Upon surveying the bus I notice the only ones with their laptops open are the seniors. They are working on the essays and applications that will help them find their next adventure.
Head Coach Justan Wolvert has the game film on in the seat behind me. Every once in a while he will call one of the girls up to his seat. He will show them 5 seconds of a St Mary’s film. Those five seconds are magic. He uses the film to affirm what our OES athlete does well, or he points out an opportunity to try something new. He never belittles the opponent. He always makes it about the OES player and why they are going to be successful. He quietly builds the confidence of each player one at a time. It is masterful how he does it.
This team has experienced adversity. There are several girls who won’t be able to dress today. But I wouldn’t be able to tell you which ones by how they are acting. They are all in. That is obvious. When I first got to OES in 2004 I had a student-athlete tell me that he wasn’t going to come to practice because it was his second sport. He had club soccer and that was his top sport. I told him to quit. If he wasn’t going to commit to his teammates, he didn’t deserve a spot on the roster. It upset a lot of my colleagues. They told me we had a no-cut program. I told them that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have responsibilities to his team. Our girls soccer program doesn’t have any issues about girls understanding that they are accountable to each other. For the last 17 years I have watched leaders like Molly Nakayama'90, Alyssa Gregg'95 Ashley Berman'96, Amy Green'96, Annie Warner'98, Jessica Tsao'05, Carling Leon'09 Hannah Dugoni'12, Hannah Huston'13, Catherine Leon’15 Carolyn Ruoff’15 Mikaleah McKinney-Griggs”16, Ruby Aaron'18, Annika Lovestrand'18, Megan Ruoff'18, Stephanie Finley'19, Joanna Cloutier'19 and countless others ensure that the team holds itself accountable on and off the field. Our captains this year, Sophie and Harper, have continued this commitment to accountability, hard work, and selflessness.
Lunch time! There are blue skies at the rest stop. It is time to fuel. The girls gather at two picnic tables and eat everything from bacon to salad rolls. For the fast eaters, boredom leads to dance sessions. We are two hours from game time and the texts from last year’s seniors start to roll in. Joanna, Maya, Olivia, etc. The class of 2019 lets the current squad know that they are with them both figuratively and digitally. The NFHS network will be streaming in New Hampshire, Maine, California, and Oregon and our college Aardvarks will be watching this year’s rematch with St Mary’s in the semifinals. Our college freshmen have already learned that there is nothing like high school sports. Maybe it is due to the distance from home, or the added independence, or some other reason, but college athletics are not the same. One more hour until we arrive. Back to the bus.
At exit 66 I realize that we are still in Oregon, but this doesn’t look at all like Portland. There is no time for a side trip to Hugo or the Pottsville Museum. Four hours in a bus where I grew up meant you were either in Vermont or Virginia.
Our three freshmen mix up with all of the classes and they separate and return to each other more because they enjoy each other rather than security. They aren’t really freshmen anymore. They are playing in the semifinals of a state tournament. They are critical to the team’s success and they are treated accordingly. It is unique to OES and their experience will shape how they treat next year’s freshmen.
I turn on Todd Mansfield’s broadcast of the boy’s game and the entire bus hangs on his play by play call. Olivia finds the live stream on FACEBOOK, but we decide to rely on Todd’s commentary. We pull in to the field complex and as the girls change and set up their bench area they listen intently on their phones. It is great to see the girls and the boys support each other. Both programs support each other and make the effort to attend each other's games.
With only minutes until the National Anthem and introductions, a group of parents arrive. They let me know they went to the school instead of the game location. I remind them the game location is on the website. Another set of parents arrive and say the same thing. 5 minutes into the game another two parents arrive. Same story. I realize that our website may suck.
The girls begin the game with amazing energy. They line up passes and senior Zoe S fires a rocket to make it OES 1 St Mary’s 0! The dozen Aardvark fans erupt. At the 15 minute mark it hits. All of a sudden we look like we drove 5 hours before the game. The girls continue to make plays, but they look tired. St Mary’s doesn’t adjust and they continue to keep 9 back with the goalie and hope they can create something in transition. The first half ends and the parents shift uncomfortably. OES has dominated possession, and St Mary’s seems content to sit back on defense. But will we have enough in the tank to win this match?
In the second half OES continues to dominate possession, but St Mary’s doesn’t allow the girls to create easy opportunities. Our girls remain poised, but then it happens. The counter attack! St Mary’s transitions to offense. They have the uneven match-up. OES goalie Izzy comes out to confront the attacker who deftly lobs it over her head. The St Mary’s fans begin to scream and the OES fans bellow, “No!” when Grace A'21 sprints in from the backside wing and makes a sliding kick at the goal line to clear the ball away.
OES earns the 1-0 victory. They are going back to the State Championship for the 9th year in a row. It is In and Out time. Burgers and milkshakes, music, and retelling of Grace’s play, Zoe’s goal and countless other moments in the game.
Finally we get on the bus and head north on I-5. Ice packs are handed out. When you play for this long, the body takes a beating. Lights go on and off, but the conversations and the laughter continue steadily for the final 5 hours. It is the final road trip of the season and it seems the girls don’t want to waste a minute of their time together. I am so grateful that I was able to watch the day unfold.
Our two soccer teams will not be the only OES competitors tomorrow. Good luck to 8th graders Mia G and Jackson R as they compete at the USATF-Oregon Junior Olympic Meet at Western Oregon University.
High school basketball and ski racing season begins Monday. Girls basketball will be in the gym and the boys will start in SPARC. Dryland training will meet in the weight room. The best part of playing in the final game is not having to wait around before the next season begins.
Last Friday rocked! It was a cold beautiful autumn day. I had Quinn and Rhiannon in the back seat heading to Tualatin High School for the XC Districts. Our boys and girls ran their final race of the season. Congratulations to our seniors, Ashok and Asa. The only thing more inspiring than watching a student-athlete run as hard as they can for 5KM, is to see their genuine excitement for their teammate's success. The entire running community is racing the clock and collectively they are all focused on racing their best race.
All League and All District teams have been announced:
Volleyball All League
Lewis and Clark Player of the Year
1st Team All Lewis and Clark
2nd Team All Lewis and Clark
Girls Soccer All District
1st Team All Special District 1
2nd Team All Special District 1
Honorable Mention All Special District 1
Boys Soccer All Special District 1
1st Team All Special District 1
2nd Team All Special District 1
Congratulations to 8th graders Jackson R and Mia G!
This weekend boys and girls varsity soccer host state quarterfinal matches!
OES boys soccer vs Riverside 2:00PM on the turf
OES girls soccer vs Blanchet Catholic 5:30PM on the turf
Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for studenta and seniors. OES athletics will cover the admission for all OES students and OES employees!
Senior Night is always a special evening for our student-athletes and their families. It doesn't mean the season is over, but we take the time to make sure we show our appreciation for the commitment and sacrifice seniors and their families have made. For the parents it means they won't be standing on the sidelines in the rain or sitting on wooden bleachers for extended periods of time. That is a good thing, but it also means that their child is getting closer to leaving for college and there won't be a reason on weekday nights to gather with their friends and fellow parents to cheer on the Aardvarks. For the seniors it means that the playoffs are near and their is a greater sense of urgency to soak up the fun and friendship while maximizing the effort and preparation. Each victory means your high school career lasts a little longer and more importantly, you get to spend more time with your teammates.
Congratulations to our MS Programs! Wednesday was a busy day for our MS teams. Volleyball lost in 3 sets to Corbett MS in the semifinals. The MS Boys Green Soccer lost to Southwest Christian 1-0. The only goal was a penalty kick awarded to the other team in the early minutes. MS Boys Central controlled possession and had multiple opportunities, but loss to Catlin 1-0. And MS Girls soccer won 3-0. Ending on a loss is always tougher than finishing on a win. No one wants to pose for that team photo after losing while the winning team never wants to leave the field. But we are proud of all of our MS fall sports teams! They did an amazing job representing OES to the greater community. They demonstrated class and poise in victory and defeat all season long.
OES Volleyball at South Umpqua 3PM Saturday November 2
Pack the van and head south to support our girls volleyball players as they take on South Umpqua in the first round of the State Playoffs! Tickets $8 for adults $5 for students. Go Varks!
Good luck Cross Country! Our boys and girls cross country teams head to Tualatin High School this afternoon for the District Championships! The girls race is 3:25 PM. Boys run at 4:05PM.
The coaches, players, students and parents can get caught up in the moment, but the Athletic Director is supposed to remain objective. It can be hard. Especially when the game is on the line. I remember the exact moment the above picture was taken. OES was playing inspired basketball against our rival and we were set to win. Instead of cheering and focusing on the student-athletes I was watching a group of lower schoolers who were getting too close to the court. As I continue to serve in this role I know that many of my evenings are going to look like this. Even though I maintain my poker face, the best part of my job is getting to watch OES student-athletes experience moments that they will hold on to for the rest of their lives.
Here is a list of a few magic moments from the past week:
Last Friday I hustled over to Southwest Christian for the MS Cross Country District Meet. Jon, Kiah, and Ben do an amazing job coaching our MS cross country team. This year we had more lower schoolers join this team than ever before. At first I was opposed to the idea, but then I had the chance to watch our 8th graders leading this group. Jackson, Mia and Sean were amazing. They were patient with their younger teammates and they made everyone feel like they were important. Before the big race the XC team was having so much fun being together. They were laughing and encouraging each other. It was so great to see student-athletes from five different grade levels supporting each other. I wish faculty meetings were this positive.
During the boys race Jackson R'24 came out of the woods in the lead. On his heels was his rival from St Stephens. It was going to be a dramatic finish. Jackson had the lead and he was emptying the tank. As he headed toward the final 100M I was a wreck. Sitting in front of a computer scheduling basketball seasons doesn't teach me anything about myself, but right in front of me I was watching a young man figure out his own limits and then stretch beyond. At the finish line Jackson was just edged out by the other runner. It was heart breaking and beautiful at the same time because Jackson had not won the race, yet he had run his best race of the season. Then Jackson who was just as wobbly as the other runner, put out his hand and congratulated the winner. It was so classy.
The next evening I got to watch the MS Boys Green Soccer Team return from their match. Down 4-1 with fifteen minutes left, the team had rallied to score 4 goals in the final fifteen minutes. The joy these boys showed was infectious! Each an everyone of them was talking a million miles per minute sharing each detail of the game. Peter M'25 summed it up best, "That is why you never stop competing until the final whistle."
We had two senior nights where I had to start processing that another class is going to be leaving in June. Families that I have seen on a daily basis for 4-14 years will be gone. Our girls volleyball team thanked Aim, Maxine, Paige and Ava while the boys soccer program celebrated Cameron, Matthew, Daniel, Andre, Oliver, Hugh, John, Kennedy, Jonah, Alex, and Mason.
I watched Milo, Matthew, Ethan and other seniors organize and host a BBQ to make sure our Thursday soccer and our girls league playoff matches would have a well-fed crowd of students to support the Aardvarks. It was a difference maker and their leadership is appreciated.
It is back to the desk and the computer, but we have girls soccer senior night and MS soccer and volleyball playoffs next week. I know that those events will fuel my soul enough to make it easier to be in the office.
It happens every season, but it still catches us by surprise. We are entering the final weeks of the fall season. US Volleyball finished #2 in the Lewis and Clark League and will host the first round of the league playoffs next Tuesday. Cross country heads to Warner Pacific tomorrow and then sets their sights on the District Championship November 1. Both soccer teams will close out the regular seasons over the next two weeks and both are heading to the postseason. While our varsity teams are focused on the second season, our JV programs are wrapping up. OES has a no cut program, so there is a spot for every student who is committed to the team. Many of our underclassmen on the JV teams aspire to make varsity. As the season wraps they renew their goals for next year. Next August they will be on varsity! However, we have numerous seniors that play on our JV teams. If they were at other schools their high school athletic careers would have ended earlier, but at OES they are still playing the games they love to play.
Some seniors also take the risk of trying a new sport during their final school year at OES. This is the case for Aim Poonbunkhong. Aim is a senior residential student who came out for volleyball in September. On Tuesday like every other senior volleyball player she was honored. As Missy read each player's favorite memories, big matches stood out. For Aim, her favorite memory was a bit different. Her answer was, "During the Homecoming JV game against De La Salle, I set the ball to my teammate and we scored the first point of the match. I was so happy that day because it was the first point of the game and I helped earn it. I was so excited I had to call my parents in Thailand to tell them what I had accomplished. Thank you, everyone, on my team!" The entire JV team was cheering her on as she was honored. I love championships and dramatic wins and losses, but these are the moments that always inspire the Athletic Department to step up their game.
Important Games and Matches
Friday 10/18 . OES MS Boys Blue Soccer vs OES MS Boys Green Soccer We have three boys teams. The Central team plays in a different league. These two compete in the same league and this game always brings out their best. This is a great opportunity to see 2/3 of our boys MS soccer players battle against their best friends.
Tuesday 10/22 6PM . #2 OES Varsity Volleyball hosts the opening round of the Lewis and Clark League Playoffs. $6 for adults $3 for students. OES will cover the costs of all OES employees and students.
Thursday 10/24 6:15PM OES Boys Varsity Soccer hosts Westside Christian on Senior Night Come celebrate the 10 seniors as they play their final regular season game at OES.
Tuesday 10/29 6:15PM OES Girls Varsity Soccer hosts Portland Christian on Senior Night. Come celebrate the 6 seniors as they play their final regular season game at OES.
Friday November 1 3:30PM OES Cross Country Sneak out of work early and meet me at Tualatin HS for the XC District Championships! This is always an amazing event.
Good luck to our Alumni!
Good luck to Grace McGee'15 tonight as Connecticut College Women's Volleyball host the Coast Guard Academy!
Good luck to Jack Casalino as he and the Vassar XC team visit Connecticut College for the CC Invite. Be sure to say hi to Grace!
Good luck to Alex Slusher'19 this weekend at the American Boy Fall Brawl in Virginia where Princeton will face Colgate and Notre Dame.
The beginning of school is so wonderful. Everyone is ready to make this year the best one yet. Outfits are planned, folders are organized, alarms are set so the teachers, students and coaches are all ready to take on the world. But it is now October. The newness of the school year or the season starts to wan. That first day of school outfit is replaced by gym shorts or leggings. The perfectly organized folder starts to resemble the junk drawer in the kitchen. Waking up is tougher. The darkness of the autumn morning makes it harder, but so does having to stay up late to study for that Economics test or that Physics quiz. Everyone likes to talk about grit and resilience. October is the month where our student-athletes will show their grit and resilience. How do they handle the academic and athletic workload over the next three weeks?
We ended September with Homecoming. Thank you to Homecoming Chair Tricia Edwards and all the parent volunteers for organizing an amazing evening. The food was delicious and our teams battled on the turf and the wood court. I loved the parade and seeing the joy of the lower schoolers marching with their older classmates. Check out some amazing photos from the morning Pep Rally and the evening taken by US teacher John Holloran.
Boys Soccer travels to Catlin Gabel tonight for their second meeting. After losing to Catlin last Friday 3-0, they defeated Portland Christian 10-0 on Tuesday.
Girls Soccer also travels to Catlin Gabel. They hope to win tonight's rematch after losing 2-0 last Friday.
Girls Volleyball defeated De La Salle North 3-0 last Friday. On Tuesday they went on the road and defeated #5 Horizon Christian 3-0 putting them in first place in the Lewis and Clark League. On Thursday they won again in three sets against Riverdale. The girls travel to Cresswell this weekend for their final non league tournament and then face Rainier and Catlin Gabel on the road next week.
Cross Country travels to Joe Danner Park for the Flat and Fast Invitational tonight.
It has been a relatively quiet week. The Middle School left for trips and we only had an away match on Wednesday, so I found myself with a free afternoon. What does an Athletic Director do when one of these "open" days happen? You go to a 2nd grade soccer practice. I loaded up the minivan with my daughter and several of her teammates and we headed to Healy Heights Park. For the next hour I got to be just a parent. It was great! My daughter's coach, who I had recently defeated in Fantasy Football(Thank you Russell Wilson) does an amazing job of balancing fun, instruction, and play at each practice. Many of us have experienced 8 year old soccer. The ball becomes a magnet and before you know it there is a swarm of bodies encircling the ball and swinging their legs at it wildly. Developmentally that is pretty much where they should be. But coach has the patience of Job and the ambition to challenge his team to grow their collective skills.
Throughout the practice he let the girls play, but continued to remind them of the opportunity to pass. He had opening drills to help the girls keep their eyes up, he praised them every time they passed to each other in their partner-passing drills. Then it was time to try to use those skills in a controlled scrimmage. His message stayed consistent even though every time the ball entered play the first girl who was near the ball kicked it as hard as she could and bolted after it until the ball and her body were flying into the tiny pop-up goal. No matter how many times the same thing happened, Coach continued to celebrate the girls working hard, but he would also remind them of the goal. "Lift your eyes!" "Find your teammate!" Several parents who were just as hopeful as me were more direct. "Rhiannon, pass the ball!"
It was close to the end when the magic happened. Coach continued to distribute the ball, so each girl would get her chance. He rolled the ball to Ingrid. She didn't belt the soccer ball, she trapped it. She turned 45 degrees and passed the ball perfectly over to CC. A hush fell over the grassy sideline. I grabbed the arm of the dad standing next to me. Did he realize what was happening? CC trapped the pass and as the entire opposing group of girls charged at her like the Scottish highland warriors from Braveheart, she calmly turned and passed the ball backwards to her other teammate Cora. Two passes! Three teammates touching the ball! I have watched a lot of sports and this amazing moment was as inspiring as when I saw David Tyree trap a ball against his head live at the Super Bowl. The girls were playing soccer. Cora trapped the ball and was about to pass it back to Ingrid when she encountered 4 girls, all wearing the same colored pinney, who collectively swatted the ball and Cora into the goal so hard it flipped it. But for one brief moment, Coach's instruction and patience, his positive energy, his somewhat monastical quest was fulfilled. It didn't happen again for the rest of practice, but as I loaded up the minivan with some exhausted and giddy second graders, I had to ask. "Did you see Ingrid's and CC's passes?" Rhiannon stopped her conversation with Sabine, and looked at me by staring straight into the rearview mirror. "I know! It was awesome." Then she was gone.
All of our coaches have their quests. Can I teach an eight year old how to pass? Can I organize this group of individuals into a cohesive team? Can I inspire these student-athletes to push themselves outside their comfort zone. Some times the coaches are lucky to see it happen, sometimes they aren't. Thank you coaches.
Tonight is Homecoming! Be sure to join us for soccer, volleyball, food, and family festivities.
#3 OES Girls Soccer vs #2 Catlin Gabel 4:15PM
OES JV Volleyball vs De La Salle North 5:15PM
#7 OES Girls Volleyball vs De La Salle North 6:15PM
#2 OES Boys Soccer vs #1 Catlin Gabel 6:15PM
Congratulations to the OES boys varsity soccer team for being named the 3A Les Schwaab Tires Boys Soccer Team for the month of September! Les Schwaab Tires will donate $100 to the OES Athletics program in their name.
My wife suffers from FOMS. Fear of missing something. She has the ability to fill her day with so many activities. There are mornings where I am excited just to put on pants and get moving by 8AM, and Keri has already baked bread, gone for a run, written several letters to friends, hit the Farmer's Market and planned out an amazing day for the family filled with activities. She seems to know about every fair, community event, school activity and does her best to get there. But last March Keri decided she wanted to run another 100 mile Ultramarathon. Her last was in 2000 after she watched the finish of the Leadville 100. She decided she had to do it. I signed up with her(that is a whole separate story we may have to share some day) and together we ran through the Rockies for 29 hours and 43 minutes to finish the race and create an experience that we refer back to as a couple whenever things get hard. In 2000 Keri's training was running and hiking in the Montana Beartooths. She was in her 20s and she had very few commitments. The summer of 2019 looked a lot different. In order to train, Keri had to start saying no. A free day now had a large two to three hour block devoted just to running. The recovery of that run was a whole different scheduled time. In the evening the stack of books by her bed didn't get touched. Family adventures shifted from long hikes to grabbing post run ice pops or hustling over to Yu Yu Yogurt. We had an amazing 14 day camping trip, but she also found a way to end the trip at Mt St Helens so she could run the Volcanic 50KM. She could catch up on her mileage after car camping for two weeks.
Last Saturday Keri ran the I M TUF 103 mile Ultra in Idaho. She was on her feet for 32 hours and 42 minutes climbing up and over multiple mountains. It made Leadville look flat. Her crew consisted of her friend and fellow PT Sara, our good buddy Doug "The Flying Frenchman" who flew out from NJ, and me. We hustled from aid station to aid station in a giant camper van making sure Keri had the fuel and clothes she needed as the temperatures rose from freezing to the high 70s then back to freezing and then back to the high 70s. As she jogged exhaustedly across the finish line to very little fanfare, she received a handshake from the race director and a belt buckle. We celebrated by making a potluck of the various snacks that we hadn't devoured during the race and headed off to bed. The next morning we got off the plane and drove straight to OES so Keri could get the kids to their afternoon activities and I could supervise the soccer matches.
That evening as we finally landed in bed, I told her just how amazing she was. "Do you think it was worth all of the time and commitment?" she asked. It was hard to not get emotional. My reply was pretty succinct. "If there wasn't any sacrifice, it wouldn't be as special."
I have told this to hundreds of student-athletes and parents of student-athletes. There are many tough sacrifices our student-athletes face: staying up late to finish homework because your basketball game against De La Salle went to double overtime, finishing up the extra reps in the pouring rain because you need that corner kick perfect before the Catlin game, holding the extra practice on Sunday evening so your final senior game against Lincoln leads to a league championship, skipping going out on Saturday night when you know your peers are doing something you can't do because you are a student-athlete. These are the sacrifices that a student-athlete has to make with no guarantee that the end result will be what they want. It is hard. It is often uncomfortable. But when I think about Keri's why, I realize that so many of us want adventure, challenge, and most importantly to be a part of something that is bigger than ourselves. Without the sacrifice the accomplishment really isn't as impressive. Because if there isn't sacrifice, then everyone would be doing it.
Girls Varsity Volleyball is 9-2 with big wins against Catlin Gabel, Clatskanie, and PAA. The team heads south to Salem for the Salem Academy Tournament this weekend!
Girls Varsity Soccer is 4-0-1. Last night they defeated 5A soccer power Scappoose. It was a hard fought physical game. With 20 minutes left in the second half Sophie C was fouled inside the 18. She put the penalty kick into the upper right corner and the Izzy P made numerous saves to earn the 1-0 victory.
Boys Varsity Soccer is 5-0 and ranked #1 in 3A. They travel to Lewis and Clark College to face league rival Riverdale tonight.
Cross country just ran the fun Catlin Gabel Handicapper. The boys finished 2nd and Asa B was 2nd overall. The girls finished third and Genevieve B was 5th overall. Their next race is Sept 28. Check out this great article about Boys XC from captain Asa B.
MS sports are in full swing. Be sure to check out schedules at the following link.
If you are looking for score updates and you are on twitter our handle is @OESathletics
Save the date for our SKI TEAM parent/racer meeting - Monday, October 7 at 7PM in the Platt Global Classroom.
We are excited to announce that OES won the 2019 OSAA Cup for the first time in school history. It is exciting to earn an award that highlights academic success, athletic achievement, and sportsmanship!
Matt Sipowicz returned home with the George Washington University Mens Soccer team. Matt played significant minutes, but University of Portland won 3-0.