Monthly Archives: March 2015

NH Avalanche – Spring Classic #1 Tournament Champions

Ahhh yes it’s spring! The signs of spring are everywhere. Well, at least there has been much chirping and plenty of chatter. It’s spring, there is a renewed sense of the seasons, new growth, and maybe it’s time for some head shots. I may stretch so far as to say there has been an ample sampling of class-less behavior, which could be misconstrued as a spring break of sorts. But this isn’t about spring so much as it’s about the progression of a team, the NH Avalanche 2000 team.IMG_8622

Game one vs. greenwich blues (5-2 win)

Game Winning Goal – Shawn Tewksbury

So, after not playing many games down the stretch as players played hockey for their various high school programs, the Avs entered play in the Spring Classic #1 Tournament. The tournament’s home rink is that of the neighboring Tri-Town Ice Arena. The locals, the Avalanche, entered play having won only a handful of games all season. They opened play in the tournament against the Greenwich Blues from Connecticut. Before this game was done there were some 13 and 14 yr old players talking some smack, lining up the slightly obnoxious hit, and waving fingers at one another.

IMG_8624The opening game was a little bit slow in developing and both teams slugged out a first period that ended in a 1-1 tie. By the end of the second period, it was clear which team had the upper hand. First, Shawn Tewksbury rejoined the Avs for this tournament and he made his presence felt right away. Tewksbury scored the first goal for the Avalanche after being set up on passes from Jon Last and Tyler Whiting. In the second period, the Avs built a 4-1 lead, getting three goals in the period, all of which were scored by Shawn Tewksbury. Whiting also picked up another assist in the middle stanza. In the 3rd period both teams scored once apiece, and the Avs won 5-2. The fifth goal was scored by Tyler Whiting, unassisted.

Although the score was decisive at 5-2, the Avalanche will likely tell you, to a man, that they didn’t play well as a team. IMG_8632What they did do was to limit the team from Greenwich from too many scoring chances. They also took advantage of the one spot that the Blues didn’t defend well, the middle of the ice, the slot. So, even when the Avalanche had their troubles getting through the neutral zone, or connecting on passes coming up the ice, they did make their shots from the slot count. Although aesthetics are often pleasing, results matter more, and the Avalanche won game one by getting results regardless of how it looked.IMG_8662

Game two vs. east haven yellow jackets (9-0 win)

Game Winning Goal – Tyler Whiting

Showing up for game two of the tournament Saturday morning there was a sense of excitement for the Avalanche team and their fans. After the opening game had been played at the Tri-Town Ice Arena, this game was played at Manchester’s West Side Arena. Coming off of a win always helps the team psyche going into the next contest. The mornings’ opponent was another team from Connecticut, the East Haven Yellow Jackets. Several of the Avs players, if not all of them, already knew that the East Haven squad had lost their first game in the tournament 6-0. Being expected to win, and winning, don’t always add up to the result that many think it would expect.

IMG_8666To the action we go. In the two minutes following the opening face-off, it appeared that the Avalanche held their game two fate in their own hands as they held the puck in the opponent’s end for two entire shifts. Before long, Tyler Whiting scored on an assist from Mikey Perry. One minute later, Shawn Tewksbury struck again and the Avs were off and running, leading 2-0. Then some things happened that I wasn’t expecting necessarily, nor should it have been seen. The teens on both squads decided they could take liberties with one another in a form of immature policing of themselves that can only look more out-of-place when adults take it to lower depths yet. Over the next five minutes of game time, the teams combined to take 7 penalties equaling more than a single periods-worth of penalty minutes. IMG_8668Max Lajeunesse would score on the power play on a feed from Sebastian Beal before the period ended, and the Avs held a 3-0 lead.

In the second period the Avs must have put 20+ shots on net, maybe more, and they even scored three more goals. First though, the brain-trust that was, or is, the East Haven coaching staff showed their brilliance and complete lack of understanding of any of the definitions of sportsmanship or even respect for; well, anything. The team from East Haven took five consecutive penalties, some of which may have been better penalized in the criminal justice system. The coaching staff did their part to quell the chaos by yelling more, yelling louder, slamming doors, and gesturing in the most respectful manner imaginable to the officiating crew. Good plan. Nothing better than a bunch of level-headed adults behaving in a calm and cool manner when realizing they are in over their heads and that their players/kids are, ummm, just showing their age and following their leaders. Goodness graciousness, that was one ugly period of humanity. IMG_8714After having several consecutive hours on the power play, or so it seemed, the Avs netted three goals in 150 seconds to lead 6-0. Cody Sullivan scored on a great pass from Lajeunesse. Then Shawn Tewksbury scored twice, once from Jon Last, and once from himself on a steal, a rush, and a goal.

The third period started with the Avalanche holding a 6-0 lead. The East Haven squad took a couple more senseless penalties and didn’t get called on several more simply because of the score and the fact that nobody was bleeding or missing any limbs. Before those things happened though, the Avs scored three more times building their lead to 9-0. Lajeunesse scored on a feed from Sullivan after the two forwards exchanged numerous passes to each other coming up the ice. Then Cade Facey scored, unassisted. Shawn Tewksbury scored his fourth goal of the game, for the second game in a row, assisted by Tyler Whiting.IMG_8898

I realize I have been tough on the group from East Haven here, but I am also tough on my kids when they act childish, unruly, and furthermore push the boundaries of decency even though they know better. One player for the Yellow Jackets that I would like to lift up, is goaltender and Captain, Danny Godlewski. I have no idea what kind of kid this young man is, but he made so many saves in this game that nobody could keep track. Yes, he let in 9 goals, and his team was trounced in hockey terms, but this kid saved dozens more would be goals, was diving side to side, and doing everything in his power to keep the puck out of the net. My guess is that had his teammates played with the same level of effort to compete in the game of hockey, they’d at least be able to look in the mirror and face themselves with a clear conscience.

IMG_8916game three vs. hockey west island (8-0 win)

Game Winning Goal – Christian Levesque

It was back to Tri-Town Ice Arena for the third and final game of the round-robin games in the tournament. The opponent for the final game was Hockey West Island from the outskirts of Montreal, PQ, Canada.

It was evident quite early that the visitors from Quebec were well out of their league as it related to the hockey caliber in this tournament. That’s not a knock on them but rather a product of the tier of hockey they play back in Quebec. IMG_8920For the most part though, the group showed well for themselves in regard to sportsmanship and how to teach youngsters what is acceptable and what is not. Toward the end of the game, a pair of West Island players took runs at Avs players, making direct contact to the players helmets/heads. The guilty parties were each ejected from the game and nobody was hurt. After the game, the coach from West Island brought one of the offending players into the Avs locker-room to share the remorse he felt and to apologize for the action.

IMG_8928The Avs 2000 team jumped out to an early lead, scoring 6 times in the opening period. From what I could tell, they spent the rest of the game making extra passes, cycling the puck, playing their off-positions, and making sure not to hit anyone. By virtue of their third win in three tournament games, the Avs earned the top spot in the standings and an opportunity to play in the championship game for their division.

Okay, so let’s get to the action from their third game. In a two-minute span early in the opening period, the Avs scored three times, on goals from Christian Levesque, and a pair of goals from Mikey Perry.IMG_9005 Cody Sullivan, Cade Facey, and Clay Sanders recorded assists, respectively. Later in the first period, Shawn Tewksbury scored twice, his 9th and 10th goals of the tournament, and Tyler Whiting added a goal. Assists went to Cam Leborgne and Mikey Perry. The Avs led 6-0 after one period and the strategy shifted to sportsmanship and getting out of game three without embarrassment or injury. The Avs scored single goals in the second and third periods, finishing with an 8-0 win. In the second period, Whiting scored again on a helper from Sebastian Beal. In the third period the Avs scored one last time after completing a series of several passes before Cam Leborgne and Cody Sullivan made consecutive passes to Beal, who rifled a shot in to the back of the net.IMG_8935

Championship Game

GAME four VS. twin valley flyers (7-0 WIN)

Game Winning Goal – Cody Sullivan

IMG_8965The final score of the championship game tells part of the story in this game, but not all of it. Yes, the Avs 2000 team was the better team. Yes, they played a better game than Twin Valley. But, for more than half of the game, 19:06 to be exact, the Avs were only able to distance themselves from their opponent by a single goal. It was apparent early that the Avs came to play, but so did Twin Valley. Twin Valley has shown in recent years that they are used to winning in NH Tier IV hockey. They were 16-1 in the Granite State League, outscoring their opponents by a whopping 87-14 margin. The NH Avalanche 2000 team peppered the goaltender and end boards with at least a couple of dozen shots in the opening period, and held the offensive advantage, but still, led just 1-0. Cody Sullivan scored on a nice little backhand shot set up by Mikey Perry, but that was it for the first 19:06.IMG_8943

With 4:54 left to play in the second period, Shawn Tewksbury scored on the power play, assisted by Max Lajeunesse. Just 36 seconds later, also on the power play, Tewksbury struck again with the assist going to Colin Leighton. Twin Valley killed off a third consecutive penalty, keeping the deficit at 3-0. Then in the last 0:14 of the period, the Avs put the nails in the proverbial coffin when Jon Last scored on a nice play set up by Leighton and Tyler Whiting. Then, just 11 seconds later, on a beautiful pass play, Sebastian Beal hit Cody Sullivan with a pass, who then fed Lajeunesse, who scored. Just like that, it was 5-0 after two periods.

IMG_8992Twin Valley kept hustling, they kept trying to play physical, but the pace and passing that Avs brought to the rink today was too much for them to answer for. In the third period, the Avs scored their 3rd power play goal in 4 attempts when Tyler Whiting and Shawn Tewksbury all but scored themselves, before Jon Last pounded a shot into the net from about two feet away. Moments later the line of Cody Sullivan, Max Lajeunesse, and Sebastian Beal, completed their second consecutive dominant shift when Lajeunesse scored on a backhand shot under the crossbar after being set up by Sullivan and Beal.  The final score was 7-0 in favor of the Avalanche. The win gave the Avs a perfect, 4-0 record in the tournament, while outscoring their opponents 29-2 in the four games. Shawn Tewksbury earned the MVP of the tournament honors, which included him scoring 12 goals in the four games.

The NH Avalanche team was coached by Bruce Harvey and Dan Sullivan.IMG_8996

This was a total team contribution, and it took all of them to play at the level showed this weekend. Goaltender, Gavin Cram only allowed two goals in four games, and even though his team played excellent defense in front of him, he made the saves he needed to when asked, and he won all four games between the pipes. Cody Sullivan, Tyler Whiting, Cade Facey, Jon Last, Sebastian Beal, Cam Leborgne, Colin Leighton, Max Lajeunesse, Caiden Paradise, Clay Sanders, Christian Levesque, Mikey Perry, and Shawn Tewksbury made up the roster for the NH Avalanche team. Everyone on the roster played a role, and played together to bring the big trophy home. (All Photos by T. Perry – Thank you)

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Spring Classic #1 Champs! (photo by 1inawesomewonder)

Spring Classic Champs

Spring Classic Champs! (photo by T. Perry)

 

 

 

Farewell My Son, For Now

Tears fill my eyes as I contemplate the thoughts that frame this post. Tears of joy? Yes, some. Tears from the pang that is separation? Yes, some. Although, it has been too many years since my oldest son and I shared the same roof, I have always accepted him as ‘home’ when in town. This week his home will officially become a place some 245 miles from where I sit. Steve has taken a job in New York City and starts work there next week.

First, I have to admit that I have failed so many more times at being his Dad than he ever has at being my son. I cannot apologize enough for the errors I have made, nor can I undo the things done. Yes, it pains me to know my first-born goes into the sunset of his youth to take on the world without more, better, timely rearing from the one writing these words. Tears don’t sum this up now, it’s more of an uncontrollable sob. I had no intention of going here, yet here I am in just the second paragraph. Thankfully, this is about him, not me. I just try to get right to how it is because although it hurts at times, it’s safe, and it’s true.

Second, I did make some great choices too. For instance, I can’t imagine that Steve could have been blessed with a better mother. He always has carried himself well, and had extraordinary insight at young ages, but he also always had his mother. I did my share, but where that measures up will be my cross to bear, and maybe Steve’s too. My door is open, my mind is clear, and my heart walks the path it should, so to do I hope this for all of my kids, and certainly now for Stephen.

My cheeks feel the air in cool streaks as the moisture from my tears evaporates into the dry wintry air. The rest of me is overheated with emotion and the sweltering embrace such a reaction carries with it. I think of my son. He bears my name. He walks this earth along with me, and he is such a new and improved version of this name. I hesitate to use the word legacy because people use the word often, but not always is it used in its truest meaning, so I will spin my thoughts on my son, my legacy, and the connection I see.

I start with a couple of meanings of the word ‘legacy’: 1) an amount of money or property left to someone in a will. 2) a thing handed down by a predecessor. I find beauty in words themselves because they carry so much meaning when huddled together or strung out for all to see. Aside from my actual will, I look forward to the world that has been left, or at least shared with, Steve and his will. For it is in his will, his determination, and his desires that I share excitement in his future. Furthermore, I challenge Steve to seek God’s will and utilize his strengths in alignment with Him. Formidable may be an understatement. In a timeline of our lives I am certainly Steve’s precursor. Handed down, if you can call it that, are the things concerning biochemistry for sure. There are lessons on and off of ball fields and courts. There are examples to learn from on both sides of the equation. There is the constant work in progress that I hope none of us ever get too big, or too good for. There is love unconditional and boundless from father toward son, and I know there will be days when that shows up, or is needed, more than others. Like the weather though, it’s always there, sometimes more noticeable than others. There are many things, but mostly there is hope, there is anticipation, there is joy in knowing who he is, there is exhilaration in trying to fathom his potential, and there is certainty found in the faith I have in him as a young man.

I am proud to be a father and I take it seriously. I am eternally blessed to have the children that have been entrusted to my care. So, as Steve takes on this new chapter in the book detailing his life, I welcome the view of his life that a father is allowed, whatever that might be.

My poetic prayer of sorts…May his steps be led by forces greater than himself. May he always have time to disengage long enough to never lose sight of the little things in life that we long for more and more as we edge our way further along life’s path. May he always revere, respect, remember, and love his mother with every fiber of his being, as this will never betray him. May he run when others may walk, but not blindly, rather from his confidence in preparation, foresight, and determination to make a difference. May he love unconditionally. May he feel fully. May he fail enough to recognize and lock away in his own annals, the sweet taste of success. May he engage in life’s moments fully with all of his senses even for a few seconds than wish he had been paying closer attention, after the fact. May he love God, himself, and his family; and truly mean it, for when the days of our lives dwindle there will not be another group of beings we’d rather be surrounded by. May he know himself deeply and intimately because in the moments that our minds crave when time and distance from the next rung on the mental ladder of structure present themselves, chaos can ensue. May he know his limits and understand his strengths especially as they relate to the planet’s most valuable asset, people. May he listen often. May he speak with a voice that is strong, with words that are calculated, and with concern for things outside of himself. May he remember that there is much love and support for him wherever he goes. May he be resourceful enough to know when he needs help and when he needs to just work harder, or learn from his experiences. May he return to us all safely and often as we will bide our time engaged in our lives, waiting with bated breath for his shadow to once again darken our thresholds.

I love you Steve. I wish you nothing but the best, and I have faith in your ability to look after yourself. I am here always, if you need me. I will miss you. We all will miss you.

Family 12-23-14

Glass Half Full

Outlook, everything.

Inner peace.

Divine necessity.

Wife is Away

My wife is away for a few days on a business trip. She is very much missed in our household, and her absence is noticed in numerous ways. One such instance occurred over night number one of her trip.

At 4:11am our nearly five-year old son walked into our room. He was sniffling and coughing, but knew exactly where to go in the dark. He climbed up on my wife’s side of the bed, as his routine. Upon discovering the empty space, he continued his roll-slide-shuffle over to the first thing he bumped into, which was me. His breathing was somewhat restricted from being stuffed up, and he is one of those boys who likes to bury himself more and more as he sleeps, often times burrowing himself under his pillows and piles of blankets. I did get him to rest against me and a pillow to get his head elevated. It worked well and he quickly was deeply sleeping again. I enjoyed the snuggle with my dear little boy and it is always rewarding as a parent to know that the child’s journey is complete when arriving here with me. Now my wife, she masters this edge of consciousness and deep sleep thing; me, not at all. I was up.

At 4:53am his twin sister came into our room. As always, she closed the doors to the rooms she left and entered. She wanted mommy but was slightly confused. She asked me if this was the night that mommy came home. I told her tonight was not the night. As she made her way across the bed towards her brother and I, she said, “Oh I thought tonight was the night.” She laid down but she was restless. After a few minutes, at 4:58am exactly, I asked her if she wanted to go back to her bed and sleep there. She said yes. I picked her up and carried her to her room and gently placed her on her bed.

For several minutes, I sat on the floor next to her bed, there in the dark, and I rested my head on the edge of her mattress. My daughter curled up into sleeping position and wrapped one arm around my neck. I sang to her for a little while, going through some of her favorite bedtime songs. Before long she was asleep again. At 5:11am I walked back into our room, wishing I was asleep, but realizing I was fully awake. My son was melting into the bed, sleeping so peacefully and beautifully.

In the dark silence, with the cold winds howling outside, I noticed the gorgeous star lit sky. I walked around and looked at the sky from four different windows, looking in every direction to notice the cloudless sky, and the piercing light from the stars that had no man-made light to compete with from my vantage points. I cannot begin to count the number of times ever since childhood that the sky has captured my attention, often times for long stretches of time, especially at night.

Being wide awake and wanting to get a better look at the sky, I figured I should do something about it. So I made my way downstairs. I threw on some wind-pants and a light jacket. I grabbed my camera and the awesome tripod I got for Christmas from the kids, and ventured into the front yard. Now, the temperature was just 17°F and the winds were whipping up at 15-25 mph, driving the wind chill factor to 0°F. One thing that someone taught me long ago was to take some pleasure in the exhilaration of those cold blasts, and to know that I am very much alive. Standing in the cold, looking to the skies, at 5-something in the morning, I chose to embrace the idea of being very much alive.

Now I am a novice photographer at best, but I do love to participate. I don’t know exactly what I captured in the pictures I took, but I tried to make my camera see at least what I could see, if not more. I set the camera on the tripod and left the shutter open for the maximum 30 seconds that my camera is capable of for each picture. After each shot, the image on my little display looked pretty cool to me, even as I stood shaking a bit in the cold. I hoped I was getting some decent pictures even though I didn’t take a lot of time fumbling around in the dark and the cold.

At 5:58am I made it back to our room. I checked on my son who hadn’t moved a muscle and was sleeping deeply. I checked on my daughter too, and she was out cold, hands and feet both perfectly and symmetrically together. I climbed into bed as not to disturb my little boy, but also with a sense of urgency to get warmed up again. I did get back to sleep for an hour or so before our 8th grader got up for school. The twins both slept until after 7am which is later than usual, especially for my son.

As the morning wore on, I sat down in front of this keyboard to make sense of last night and to figure out the chicken scratch notes I wrote to myself in the dark. I also wished (in a small way) that I could engage with the kids while not fully waking up like my wife does. Then again, I am exhausted but I got to see the treats that are a perfectly clear starlit night sky and the illuminated dots that pierce the darkness from distances measured in years. These are the same sources of light that I sang softly about to my daughter as she drifted back into the awesome vastness of sleep. So tired as I may be (I am), I would have to say it was a great night. My son’s first words to me this morning were, “Dad, I love you soooo much.” Who am I to complain.

I sit here wrapping this whole typing thing up. The sun is bright. The winds are making their presence known. The various shades of green seen in the form of needles long and short, wave and lurch to and fro in the breezes that blow. The outline of the massive pine catches my eye, as it always does, when those greens sway against the perfect blue back drop. I could watch it all for hours, if not days. The sun climbs and the angles of the shadows change. The sky beckons, and I am always game. My gaze is often fixed upon that boundless space. My prayers are so often delivered as I stare to these blue depths. Finishing this, I think of my wife, away from here, and the sky she sees today. I take solace in the space that connects us even in times apart, and one such thing would be the sky. I stare at the blue knowing she can see the sky too, and it helps me feel close, even though my wife is away.

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30 second exposure looking north. I brightened this up quite a bit but the colors are untouched. The wind was howling so our neighbors outside motion light came on over looking their back deck while I was outside.

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30 second exposure looking north. Again, brightened some but the colors are true. Loving the night-time sky! There is not a lot of wide open sky around here.

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30 second exposure looking northwest. The colors were barely visible to my eye, but the open shutter picked them up much better.

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30 second exposure looking north. The glow, the stars, the silhouetted trees, the colors, and the accompanying cold wind will make this overnight hard to forget.

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30 second exposure looking north-northeast. I could barely see any discoloration of the night sky with own eyes, but the camera captured this beautifully.

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30 second exposure looking north. I don’t know what the glow is closer to the horizon. I was hoping for the Northern Lights, but I am not sure I got them. There was a faint light I could see without the camera, but when leaving the shutter open so long, it grabbed a lot of light.

Positive Priority

If you find yourself making decisions for yourself and for your families, think about this. If you are making decisions to be around people and influences because you feel you have to, reconsider. Sometimes we find ourselves spending time or prioritizing time with folks we are “supposed” to hang out with. When in actuality, that’s up to us, and we choose where we spend our time. We choose where we are truly welcome for who we are. We choose to be in the places where love, generosity, true friendship, and open-minded, positive results are found. If you find yourself spending time in places that are not fulfilling, or places that don’t align with your happy, creative state because you are “supposed” to give these places your time, then consider this definition of “supposed”: generally assumed to be the case. Maybe it’s time to generally assume that places where you find positive thinking, unconditional love, the giving of ones resources for another, and genuine gratitude are the places you should be spending your time and energy.

For, where there is love and positive-minded outlook, there also should be your priority. As, where there is negativity and critical manipulation, there also should be your absence.

Pleasures in Life

I am a fortunate man. God has blessed my family and I many times over. I am both humbled and thankful for all of the blessings that have come my way. One pleasure in life that I am very thankful for, one that I try not to not to take for granted, is the beauty of my sleeping children. No matter how busy the day has been, or how hectic, and even disastrous it may seem, there’s always the moment that seems miles from any of the chaos.

The moment, in the dark, when I walk into the warm room(s) where the children I have been blessed with, to guide and to raise, are peacefully sleeping. The pace of life knows not this moment and this space. No anger, ill-tempered, or negative emotion cross the threshold into this area. Time slows to an appropriate speed when I walk among the shadows to seek a glance at those precious, innocent faces. The noise of life and the roar above the growing hum of humanity clattering through our universe while being distracted by instant everything, can be overheard here by the faintest of whispers. Here inside these walls, the absence of light creates an atmosphere that is placid, quiet, and it takes on a different feel than it does at any time during the day. Reverence washes over me immediately as I step from one world into another, a world separated by just a door and these four walls. Outside this space distractions abide, and stresses tug, decisions are real, and too many of them are required. But, here, in the dark silence, there is innocence, beauty, and peace. There is love here, lots of it. There is respect. There is peace. There is life that originated from a miracle, and here it sleeps, just inches from the madness of today, but here it rests, completely.

My heart rate slows and my mind seems to clear up. I look at the preciousness before me, and it is overwhelming. Sometimes I fight back tears when I let myself think of ever missing one of these moments. Mostly, I smile. I whisper to the sleeping beauties. I have done this with all of the children, even as they got older. I tell them I love them, and how beautiful I think they are. I tell them to dream big, and go after the things in life they love. I tell them to always love, and to always give thanks to the Lord. I tell them they can do anything that their hearts desire, and to work bigger and harder than their biggest dreams. I tell the boys to take care of their sisters and to always look after their mother. I tell the girls to always help their mom, and to make sure they look after their brothers. I pray for them. I pray for direction to be a better father, to be a better husband, and to be a better example. I give them each a kiss and I linger a moment, somehow wishing I could return to that time in my life.

As I open the door to leave and to re-enter the world outside, I think of how truly fortunate I am to witness these pleasures in life.

Thankful Because “It” Was

The winter season is still upon us here in New Hampshire. Yesterday’s temperatures actually made it into the 50’s here, and even though I love winter, it was a really nice day. It was a reminder that spring is nearing, a reminder to me of the renewal of the seasons that I love so much. It also gave my brain a little nudge down the steep mountain of snow that is everywhere around here still, and as my mind gained speed and momentum, I thought more of spring, and in turn, baseball. Ultimately, some 24 hours later my mind and body connected at the keyboard, and the words you read now were funneled here despite my lack of typing skills. My thoughts, converted here to words, ran in sequence, something like this.

Every once in a while I get so ingrained in the here and now that I think the scenario, or the window of time I am in, will be there again in the future. As if to say that the unfolding of events that led to the opportunity at hand would be easy enough to recreate, manipulate, earn again, or in some way come back around because they did so this time.

There are a number of times I can recall in both cases, where things never did materialize again the way that I had hoped or thought they would, and other memories that did recur more or less how I would have thought or wanted them to. I think in these terms, particularly as it relates to sports, athletic achievement, as well as team sports and in individual competition.

Instead of kicking myself for the past and, or, the things I would have, or could have, done differently, while wondering if any of it would have mattered anyway, I change gears.

I move in the direction of thankfulness, appreciation, and the savoring of the moment, big and small. The moment, in this piece, also known as, “it”. I think back to a summer not too long ago, a summer I will never forget. I could choose to remember the summer of 2007 for what didn’t happen and the pain that accompanied moments during that summer, but I choose rather to luxuriate in the memory of what was accomplished and to remember the family and friends I was so fortunate to be surrounded by during that time.

As life would have it, time never slowing for any of us, we waltz in and out of people’s lives. Time marches on and forces much bigger than ourselves apply their weight to our day-to-day lives, and we react however it is that we react. Sometimes community participation brings folks together, or it could be by choices we make, or just plain old happenstance. Either way we all get there at the same time, in the same place, and take an experience with us that may never be forgotten regardless of where paths lead each of us from that particular time and place.

So, while I will never forget the Summer of 2007 as a whole, I have already begun the fading of details that comes with the lapsing of time. Furthermore, pain and joy both have their ways of shaping the view our mind’s eye sees and the ability to see clearly all the way back to the details that were so pertinent in a different time. Regardless, I am so thankful for the people who came together that summer and experienced with me, with my family, with our team, and with our community, the pure joy sometimes found in the spaces created while drafting behind the vehicle that is a post-season run by the boys of summer. I am not talking about the 2007 Boston Red Sox and their run to another World Series Title. I speak of the 2007 Goffstown Babe Ruth 13 Year Old All-Star team. This team was near and dear to me. This team meant a lot to many of us in this community.

In the end, the results on the field that summer did not lead us to the completion of our goals. But, wow! did we have a great time?!?! What a run! The sheer joy and enjoyment of our time on the field together was only outdone by the time we all spent together doing so many things off of the field. The people who wandered in through life’s revolving door that summer, the door that dumped us all out in to the same place at the same time, from where ever it was that we had been prior, were some of the nicest, warmest, thoughtful, engaging, and committed people you could ever meet. I am so thankful to have been a part of this group of folks. The run was truly magical but the experience it created for all of us was a time that I will forever be grateful for.

I wrote in an email that I drafted the day after our collective summer of baseball had ended, “…Next year when we’re the first team in GBR history to go to the Babe Ruth World Series…”. Well that didn’t happen, and not only that, it didn’t even come close to happening the way I envisioned it might have while writing from my laptop at Allard Park on August 9th, 2007. Here’s the thing though, I am so thankful for the experience. I am thankful for the people. I am thankful for the relationships that developed. I am thankful for the opportunity to be in the position I was in. I am thankful for the renewed perspective that experience instilled in me. I am thankful for that elongated moment, thankful for “it”.

Over the years, I have written or even spoken on the topic of being grateful for the here and now; being thankful for the moment, and understanding that it may never present itself again. Live the moment, soak it in, and know it is so very special even if it doesn’t turn out the way you wanted it to this time, or any time.

From a personal standpoint I have been fortunate enough to play and/or coach in pursuit of Division titles, District titles, State titles, Regional titles, World Series berths, and even National titles. Even though I (we) won at almost all of those levels, I (we) still lost more than my fair share. Then, even more important than that, I gained perspective as I got older and as I was in more of those situations. Perspective and experience taught me to thoroughly enjoy those moments as I was going through them. I learned to step away, at least intellectually, and try to see the bigger picture, or more effectively to comprehend the significance of that moment in time and how unique it was unto itself. Such moments are more likely not to happen more than once, and no matter how young, bold, skilled, or invincible I may have felt in any moment, the likelihood of its reproduction was not good.

For the boys of summer, these years, those years, whenever “it” happens, they should be the times of our lives. Summer nights, sunny days, longer daylight, warmer temperatures, the beauty of the game and the green, symmetrically perfect canvas on which to paint the mural of our youth. Even into my 40’s (years, not temperature) the youthful exuberance that started somewhere in my childhood which still dwells within, bubbles towards outward emotion in the execution of the outstanding defensive play, the perfectly executed slide, or the ‘weightlessness’ (some people call it a blackout moment) moment when the perfect execution of mechanics all come together in the exact perfect sequence to launch the batted ball as fast, and as hard, and with as much conviction as I could muster. When these things do happen, and they do, embrace them. Understand it for what it is. Maybe it’s a brush up against perfection. Or maybe it’s the timing of all we thought could be, coming together, and eclipsing even our own wildest dreams. Maybe it’s a period of time when the right people, with similar goals, and a like-minded approach to achieving those goals, all come together so that you, so that I, can forever have the experience and memory to carry with us. Deeper into the maybe’s; perhaps “it” existed not only for the experience of the present, but more so to be called on in the future. Either way, no matter why, be present. Be engaged. Recognize the moments. Fully savor them and let them wash over you. For if you ask me, it’s better to have engaged fully with all of the senses even for a second than to wish I had been paying closer attention, after the fact.

We never do know when these moments in time will start. We certainly don’t know how long they will last. We know even less about when they will end. Then, we don’t know if they’ll ever come our way again. Don’t miss your moments. They could be years, or even seconds, but all of us experience some moments that we wish would never end. Or we wish again for those moments to return to us. Accept them for what they are, moments that pass us by, or even moments that exist around us, and once in a while we are fortunate enough to pass through them. Again, I make the point that I am thankful because “it” was.