Tag Archives: all about the kids

QCMOTC Goes Camping

Theodore and Jacqueline took a photo opp with Yogi. (C) 1inawesomewonder.

Theodore and Jacqueline took advantage of a photo opp with Yogi. (C) 1inawesomewonder.

Welcome to Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park in Ashland, NH. This campground sits right on the banks of the Pemigewasset River.

A panorama shot of our campsite in the foreground. (C) 1inawesomewonder.

A panorama shot of our campsite in the foreground. (C) 1inawesomewonder.

Thanks to the Queen City Mothers of Twins Club for a wonderful camping weekend along the banks of the Pemigewasset River. Thank you to the folks within the club that set this weekend in motion. Thank you for all of the planning, and thoughtful care to make this a pleasurable experience for the families and friends that made their way to the campground.

Theodore enjoying the watering hole on the river's' edge, that he and several other twin friends enjoying excavating by hand. (C) 1inawesomewonder.

Theodore enjoying the watering hole on the river’s’ edge, that he and several other twin friends enjoying excavating by hand. (C) 1inawesomewonder.

The weekend was a blast! There were all kinds of activities for the kids to participate in. Our group set up a projector so the kids had some movies to watch while enjoying warm summer weather under the stars.

Yes, we had a lot of twins in camp. This was an attempt to get all the twins into a group photo. (C) 1inawesomewonder.

Yes, we had a lot of twins in camp. This was an attempt to get all the twins into a group photo. (C) 1inawesomewonder.

All in all, the weekend was great. Saturday night and Sunday morning, the QCMOTC provided meals to the group. In talking with one member of the board, I was told that there were some 16 families with twins at the campground for the weekend. That’s a lot of twins! The club also subsidized the cost of the camping fees for the weekend. I know that our family had a great time and didn’t want to leave. It was a time to reconnect with old friends, renew acquaintances, and make new friends. We thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you to the Queen City Mothers of Twins Club, and also to  Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park.

To the Help

This one goes out to the help. The volunteers. The community. The common thread found among a group. Maybe it’s a passion that you didn’t realize you had, but you couldn’t stay away knowing that things needed to be done right.

I know I have said this, maybe too many times, over the last 15 years, but I believe it, it’s all about the kids. So, when we get put to the test to host a baseball tournament at Allard Park, we do so. But we do so with a flair for the perfect. I don’t mean to say we are perfect or do everything exactly right. I will say that we come pretty close on most days. Because there’s a group of us that learned from those who came before us, then we add our creativity and our passion for getting it right.

We set the stage to the best of our abilities. We produce this little show that is the presentation of the game. But there is no agenda, in the political or personal sense, just a respect for the game. And in doing so, I, we, hope that the kids have the experience of a lifetime, playing this great game in such a beautiful setting. I equate it to something like the falling of dominoes. Everyone likes to see some elaborate design set up, only to get the enjoyment of watching the ripple effect and beautiful symmetry of one slab perfectly effecting the next, and so on, as they all fall down. Well we are the group that sets up the design, and stands one domino after the next, just so the teams can come in and enjoy the show, participating as they may. Honestly, that’s how I see it.

I cannot say enough about the folks that make these games and tournaments come together. I am truly humbled by the efforts of so many, who volunteer and work above and beyond the work that is already in their everyday lives, for the kids, for the game. I have been all over this state to more fields than I can remember, and Allard Park in its’ setting, with all the work done to present the game, is as good as it gets. Bar none.

Lamprey River and Somersworth line up during the National Anthem. Babe Ruth (13-15) State Championship. Allard Park, Goffstown, NH. 07192016. (C) 1inawesomewonder.

Lamprey River and Somersworth line up during the National Anthem. Babe Ruth (13-15) State Championship. Allard Park, Goffstown, NH. 07192016. (C) 1inawesomewonder.

I know that running a tournament is a lot of work. It’s tiring. There is always more to do. There are always folks to cater to. Then, we ran two tournaments in a row. Games were played on everyday between July 6th until July 19th, except our one day off, July 13th (an evening that our team practiced). 20 games in 13 days. 20 announcements of players, coaches, umpires, officials, and 20 national anthems. Every pitch, every out, every play, of every inning tracked, and recorded. Prepping the field in blistering heat, or recovering from thunderstorms and downpours. People worked at the gate, sold 50/50 tickets, and helped all over the grounds. Folks worked in the stifling hot concession stand to produce the best ballgame fare anywhere around. We restocked as we went several times. Often times, members of our volunteer crew would be at the field for 8-9 hours in a single day, when two games were played.

One thing I can say is that our kids learned a lot about running a tournament. They helped in every aspect of the production necessary to host a tournament. Even better, they saw their parents working hard to make this about the kids, and to do it right. There’s nothing wrong with the kids seeing ‘pay it forward’ right before their own eyes.

I thank Maurice Allard for his, and the Allard family’s blessing, for us to utilize the facilities and run with them. Dr. Moe was ever-present at games, all games, whether they included the home team or not. And, I would say that he was not only welcomed, but his presence was anxiously anticipated by many.

So, despite the home team being knocked out of the tournament with 3 days, and 5 potential games left to be played in the State tournament, the crew pulled it off. Yesterday, on a Tuesday afternoon, the final game was played. Somehow our volunteers found ways to Allard Park at different intervals, despite all the ‘real life stuff’ found crammed into everyday. Folks just stepped in where help was needed, often times wearing multiple hats in the various roles. The house was full. The concessions were flowing. The field looked incredible. The sky was blue, and big, puffy white clouds gently glided across the blue expanse, being pushed by crisp, dry, clean air coming down from Canada. Pretty near perfect.

Finally, for the newer volunteers, I am not kidding when I say that we (Goffstown Babe Ruth) are known for a quality venue, a quality presentation, and a quality experience for all who enter through our gates. It’s not a coincidence that Allard Park has hosted more tournament games in the last 15 years, than anywhere in the state. It’s not even close. It’s because we have wonderful people, wonderful parents and support groups, who all care about doing it right, for whatever their reason may be. It shows. Trust me, it shows. Remember I wrote about IMPACT recently, well what an impact you all had on the state of Babe Ruth Baseball in the state New Hampshire over there two weeks. Thank you all. You are truly amazing. Simply the best.

Draw the line and make the best of it

I sat down to write this piece, or at least get it started no less than five times in the last week, so as to recap the last three weekends of our hockey season. The last three weekends consisted of the Granite State League Playoffs (I was not present), the Mass Select Playoffs, and then Tier II Sectional’s (I missed this one also). I will get game sheets for these games, at least I hope to, so that I can update the individual stats for the team that I have tracked since September 2012. I track the stats because I enjoy doing it. I track stats for the coaches so that they have numbers to match their suspicions, hunches, and what they thought they saw. I track stats for the players so that they learn the familiarity of measurement as it relates to performance. For measurement related to performance will be a part of their lives for decades to come.

Then, for the last two weeks, there’s been a train of thought gathering steam accompanied by a growing feeling stuck in my craw. So, that is the direction I set now. To expand on that sense which grows by the hour and now fills this space. I write this to share, and to reveal also the depth of meaning buried in the thoughts I’ve left arranged not over the last two weeks.

There comes a time in every boy or girl’s life when they are exposed to direction given by an authority figure; an individual that means well and has the intention of developing people to be better than they were before given their direction. Within the obedience accompanied by childhood, and the respect given to the authority, and for the betterment of those other folks who were also given this guidance, the boy or girl buys in, and pursues the common goal as laid out by authority. The group of people work through differences, or at least in spite of them, and grow, develop, and improve in areas targeted by the powers that be. Day after day, week after week, the message is similar, and the results prove that more things are going right than they are going wrong. The group, while not perfect, feels a sense of security, together, as they achieve levels of higher performance and recognize growth within the group. They build bonds with one another that were stronger than ever before, and they realize that these bonds are between individuals working together toward a common goal, and not with the setter(s) of the direction. As it should be.

Time expires on the goals set for this period of time, and the overall grade given in rating the progress made by the group is unclear. The assessment appears to be positive yet somehow, it’s not the stake in the ground marking a step along the timeline of a bigger, better picture that it felt like while accomplishing it. It’s more like a disingenuous compliment given by those whom are more interested in the direction of their own and the musings they delight in, than the realities of hard work, real progress, and making the best of what they have.

The group, not as savvy as the setter’s of their way, aren’t ignorant, yet remain completely engaged, bought in, and looking for the direction that follows the line they’ve toed so far. All of them, except for those who, by extenuating circumstance or circumstance formed a little closer to the heart of the matter, are on board, and looking for that direction that steers them further ahead on the road of progress.

However, for all of the group, that direction does not come, at least not from these setter’s of direction. Instead comes word that, when read between the lines, says we don’t value what you have contributed thus far, as we think there are better individuals outside of this group, so with our limited working knowledge of these others, we will move forward with them because we are the setter’s of direction and this is the direction we choose, as we know we will be better with them. In other words, our goals are not the groups goals, so to reach our goals we will try a different group, as this is about us, but not all of you. It’s supposed to be all about the kids, not just some of the kids. Several of the group are sent away with a half-hearted attempt at a sorrowful dismissal. Adding insult to the injured, whom are yet reeling from the feeling of betrayal by those who pleaded for their buy in, and commitment, got it, and threw it in their faces; they are told that even though some of the others thought to be better won’t join the group, we will search elsewhere, for others who we feel are better than you, because we are smart, and we know you are not who we want.

Then, one of the former group raises an interesting question which falls silently into the wake of the exodus from this group, what about working with what you have, and making the best of that?  Good question.

Now, in a separate line of thought completely, let it be known that I am all for competition, making one’s self better, and trying to assemble the best team possible whenever given the chance to do so. I am also a proponent of making the best of what you have. More often than not there comes a time when you have to just draw the line, and get down to work with what you have. Some people would say that you should constantly try to improve your position, and sometimes that simply means dig in with what you have and maximize the resources available through hard work, dedication, continuity, and creativity. It’s not about, “woe is me”, look what I am stuck with. I prefer that the glass is half full, and to look at all the things we can do with this.

To some there’s never a line drawn, unless someone else draws it for them. They are incapable of making tough decisions and though they swear they know how to do so, but fail to make them. A long time ago I learned that, to know and not to do, is yet to know. As I work with kids from grade school age right through to college aged kids, I ask them the difference between trying and doing. Almost every single kid, regardless of age, responds with something about trying is failing to actually ‘do’. Kids can figure this stuff out, but they still clamor for the direction that allows them to move past ‘try’ and get to ‘do’. The point is this, make the call, the right call. In matters of right versus wrong, the right answer is always the right answer, no matter how it’s spun. So, when resources are limited, or even, resources presented are all there are, then utilize what’s there to be molded, and work your tail off to get to your vision of what could be, with what you have. Not with what you wish you had. Not with what you could have if you only had two more weeks. Not with what you know is out there but isn’t yours to work with. Make the decision, set your stance, and work with what you have. This isn’t an open-ended, rolling time period, use the resources you have, the ones you know, the ones presently available, and make the best of it.

I’ve coached teams that won everything they played when I wondered how we’d win half. I have thought I knew so much going into situations only to find that I only knew what I knew, and I knew not what everyone was capable of, if given the chance. I knew that I would set the tone, and that I would demand respect of me, respect of one another, and respect of the opportunity to work together, and that was bigger than us all. I assessed groups and wished for better at times, but it always came down to just working. Working hard. Working smart. Working together. Working to blend strengths while overcoming weaknesses. Working to reinforce the weakest link. Work. We worked, and we were all better for it.

This isn’t a me versus everyone. Just a reference into my own experience. My experience continues everyday, and just when I thought I’ve learned, or experienced enough, I’m reminded that I am merely a child in the timeline of experience, and I buy in, again, and work toward a greater good. From there I humbly get to work and make the best of it. It’s a cycle you know, a cycle that repeats over and over. Even so, there’s a lot of fun, and little miracles a plenty along the way.