Tag Archives: youth sports

A New School Year in Japan

Continued from my earlier post Our First Overseas Adventure:  Japan 2000 (part 6). 

“10/2/00  Konnichiwa to you all!  I wanted to send a quick message to each of you and thought this would be the easiest way (for me).  If you haven’t heard from us in a while, we have been unusually busy lately.  G8r left the first of September with his new ship, the USS Essex.  I’m sure he would love to hear from you.  He comes home Oct. 15 for a few days for a change of command for the ship’s captain.  Then they are back out until Thanksgiving.  The kids started school just before he left, and I went back to school with them.  The elementary school here in our military housing had hired a new kindergarten teacher, but she was not to arrive for 2-3 weeks after school started.  Lulu was in one of the 4 kindergarten classes (taught by 2 teachers – they have half-day kindergarten here) last year in which I volunteered a couple of days a week.  I also applied to be a substitute last March (you would not believe the paperwork I filled out to do that!).  Well, the other kindergarten teacher asked if I would like to fill in until the new teacher arrived.  And actually, I was a little more than just a substitute; I created bulletin boards and lesson plans, had parent-teacher meetings, etc.  It also lasted a little longer than a couple of weeks.  Today (6 weeks later) was my last day as ‘teacher,’ ‘hey you,’ and ‘Mrs. Wose!’ I have had so much fun doing this, I am rethinking my plans after Mr DL is out of the house in 15 years from now.  The experience I gained as a preschool director at our church in Florida really helped me a lot too.  But I have also learned that I try to stretch myself too thinly.  With G8r being gone, having a full-time job, and taking care of the kids and house has been exhausting.  I am looking forward to the next few days to get the house back in shape.  The new teacher will be having training classes and moving into her new house, so I have already been asked to fill in for her some more later in the month, and I will be glad to see the kids again and see how they are doing.  And that is not all…Jay is still playing with the Japanese Little League baseball team.  He has a big tournament the last weekend of the month near Nagasaki.  He is also playing flag-football on base, which I love watching.  Lulu is on the cheerleading squad, and they cheer for each of the football teams, a different one each weekend.  She is also still going to her dance classes once a week.  Mr DL’s gymnastic classes were temporarily stopped as they are looking for a new teacher to replace our last one who recently moved.  Poor little guy can’t get a break!  He’ll get to play t-ball in the spring and cannot wait for that.  I hope all is well with each of you.  SR”

Wow, to think that was almost 9 years ago!  And now we are looking towards Jay’s senior year next year.  This school in Japan was his second school; next year he will be attending his eighth.

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Ay Oh, Let’s Go!

The kids left for school this morning decked out in orange and blue.  They don’t care that the colors here are very similar to that other Florida school.  They proudly wear their Gator colors everywhere they go.  We are anxiously awaiting tonight’s game.  It should be a great match up between last year’s Heisman winner and this year’s. 

We are a big sports family.  My oldest son’s first word was “ball” probably due to the fact that my husband started tossing  a ball around with him as soon he was able to hold one.  He started his first league sport (t-ball) when he was 4 and has continually played some sport each season since.  My other two fell right in behind him when they turned 4 as well.  As much as I like watching college football and professional baseball, I love watching my kids play more than anything.  My oldest is steadily improving his times in swimming, and my youngest has his first basketball game this Saturday.  My daughter is waiting for softball season to begin again in a couple of months, so for now she will be on the sidelines with her dad and me. 

I sometimes miss playing a sport; I enjoyed basketball, softball, volleyball, and soccer as a kid.   But they weren’t as organized then and, in my small high school, were a bit limited.  I started running on the high school track team my senior year and have enjoyed keeping that up as much as possible over the years since.  I like it because it’s an individual sport.  No one has to rely on me, and I can do it whenever and wherever I like.  The downside is I have to drag my own behind out the door or to the treadmill; no one’s calling me to say that it’s time for practice.  And if I don’t get off of this computer and get my shoes on now, I won’t get in my run for today.

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Eeny Meeny Miny Moe

My children are not going to be professional athletes, that I know of, but it is so much fun to watch them play.  Yesterday, both of my sons had events at the same time.  I hate it when that happens because I have to eeny-meeny-miny-moe which one I go watch.  With three in sports it happens often, but I still don’t like it.  Since I didn’t have a lot of time yesterday (getting ready for the house to be taken over by six 14-year old girls for my daughter’s birthday slumber party), I decided to watch our oldest at his cross country meet since it was a bit shorter in length.  Since they don’t play on a field where you can sit and watch, we crossed back and forth through a large field of knee-high grass as he popped out in different areas of the course.  It was a bit warmer than we expected; the temperatures have been dropping into the 70’s this past week, so it has been much better for running.  Yesterday it must have been back up towards 90 with 100% humidity (it felt like it anyway); I was sweating just standing out there.  So I know my son had to have been feeling a bit sluggish.  He didn’t PR (better one of his previous times and make a Personal Record) but was the 2nd to cross the line on his school’s “B” team.  He came in ahead of 2 or 3 boys he’s been trying to pass with each race, so it was exciting to see him happy in achieving another goal. 

After we left his meet, my husband dropped me back at home to finish preparations for the party.  He went on to watch the end of our youngest’s football game.  When he came home, my son immediately told me the bad news; he often starts with, “I’m sorry to tell you, but…”  His team lost by a touchdown, but then the good news came.  On one of the last plays of the game, he caught a tipped ball while playing on defense and ran it back 70 yards for a touchdown.  I immediately felt regret for wanting to get back to clean and decorate for the party but was so glad my husband was there to see it.  I almost wish I could have been there just to see my husband’s reaction as he is still on crutches from his hip surgery.  I can almost see him half running, half hobbling along the sideline cheering at the top of his lungs.

Act 3 came around 5 pm with 6 giggling girls at our kitchen table.  Since my daughter loves crafts, they sat around giggling and talking and giggling some more while knotting hemp into bracelets.  Then they made English muffin pizzas for dinner after which we partook of cake and ice cream.

Luau Flower Birthday Cake

Luau Flower Birthday Cake

It was interesting to see the interaction among the girls.  I know how my daughter is around me and our family.  But I got to see another side of her as she spoke (giggled) with her friends, each of whom had a different personality from the next.  The spectrum ranged from one girl who was somewhat quiet and serious to another who was very bubbly and talkative.  Our daughter is somewhere in the middle, so it was neat to see how she interacted with the different personalities.  Last night there was a lot of (did I already mention?) giggling.  She is often stressed over school work and tests, so I think it was a nice break from all the seriousness in life. 

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Geaux Team!

My husband has managed to somehow make friends with an LSU fan at work.  I don’t know how he did it.  The only thing I can manage to come up with is that he justifies that they’re a part of the SEC.  Actually, I have a sister who married into an LSU family, so I guess they can’t be all that bad.

His friend and wife are coming over to watch the football games at our house this weekend.  But first, the morning will begin on the local football field; we’ll watch our youngest son play.  Then we’ll be off to our daughter’s softball field for a game.  I love watching our kids play sports.  Living overseas gave us the opportunity to expose them to some that we wouldn’t have learned about otherwise.  When we lived in Guam, we learned how to play rugby and cricket.  In Paris, both our sons continued their love for rugby and played on teams there.  My youngest loves to talk about his trip to Italy to play in a tournament with French, Germans, Italians, Brits…  In Ireland, my husband couldn’t wait to get to a sports store and buy hurleys after we watched a semi-pro match.

My husband started coaching teeball when our oldest son was 4.  When we lived in Japan, our son got the opportunity to play on a Japanese Little League baseball team; that was an unforgettable experience.  The team had a couple of games in which we had to spend the night away from home.  I felt like we really got to see the culture there first-hand.  My husband has coached each of our children in some sport, baseball, soccer, basketball…  I helped out as team mom a lot and even coached a tee-ball team when he was deployed.  Now that they are old enough to be on school teams, we are a little less involved in the coaching.  But we are still there to cheer.  Our oldest decided to run cross-country this year, and even though it’s not a team sport, per se, we still go cheer for him and his teammates.  He improves his time with each meet and hopes to break a 19:00 5-K so he can letter at the end of the season. 

I have decided to get back on the track myself.  When I was in school, I liked playing sports as well, soccer, basketball, volleyball, softball…, but sports teams weren’t as big for girls back then.  I was on the track team my senior year and liked running the longer distances like my son.  I have been an on-and-off runner since then.  I ran a couple of 5-K races in college, and then when we moved to Guam 6 years ago, the whole family got involved in racing.  They had a race of some kind every weekend.  I even did a few sprint triathlons.  After we left Guam, we moved 3 times in 2 years.  I had other things that took priority so didn’t have a lot of time to workout.  But now that my kids are starting to pass me when I run, I am encouraged to get back out there and have a go of it again.  I won’t catch up with my oldest son, but maybe I can try for my original goal back in Guam to get my 10-K under an hour.  I’ve been asked if I’ll run a marathon.  I’m not quite ready for that one yet, but maybe one day. 

My daughter hates to run.  I must admit it can get boring at times.  I try to vary where and when I run; I’m always looking for new music to put on my iPod.  I know it will get me in the shape I want to be in, so I do it.   I also do it to keep my kids motivated to stay active.  If they see me running or working out, they can’t say, “Well, you don’t do anything.”  There have been seasons when they didn’t want to play a sport again.  They were tired of playing in the outfield or on the line.  So we just have them try something new until they find what they do like.

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