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To this point in his life, Finn has enjoyed — and been quite good at — team sports.  Soccer, baseball, basketball — if he hasn’t been the best player on his teams he’s at least been in the top two or three.  His aggressive style of play, particularly in soccer, has earned him fans and accolades among the parent class.  I’ve left more than a few games thinking I’d have paid to watch him play.

That all changed with this season’s Laurelhurst Legends basketball team.

A member of the team, but not really.

The team did fine.  Save for one mid-season loss, we won every game handily.  But for Finn it was a season lost, if not worse.  It started well enough: despite his lack of height, Finn was still among the better players on his squad.  In one early season game he poured in 14 points to lead the team.

But things changed somewhere along the way.  His teammates, almost all of whom are classmates in a different 2nd grade homeroom that Finn, froze him out of the offense.  If he didn’t get the ball via steal or rebound, he didn’t get it at all.  In the third- and second-to-last games of the season (both of which I refereed), his teammates passed him the ball exactly twice (that’s 1x/game).  In last night’s season finale, he was on the receiving end of exactly three passes (two more were intercepted by a teammate).   That’s in stark contrast to the 20-30 touches for the next most insignificant player and a world away from the 80-90 touches for the team’s big dogs.  His spirit was understandably sapped.  Shoulders shrugged, head down, this just wasn’t the same kid who’d started the season.  He tried to get open for a while, but in the end he’d noticeably given up.  It was as if he’d said “I’m not going to get the ball, anyway.  I may as well save my energy.”

Memories fade with time, but as I write this I suspect Finn may have played his last organized basketball game.  On our way to the car he lamented “I don’t ever want to play another basketball game again.”

I can’t say I blame him.

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Finn’s first season in select soccer has been a mixed bag.  His team started off slowly but has gotten it together of late.  He’s played well but hasn’t been the dominant force he was at times in LVR.

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Until this weekend.

Finn’s Seattle Celtic Gold team played two games at Tukwila’s Starfire soccer facility.  They won both — 9-2 on Saturday, 10-1 on Sunday.  Finn scored seven of his teams nineteen goals — three on Saturday, four on Sunday.

Not seven in one game, to be sure, but not bad, either.

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Today the kids and I headed north to Jackson Park Golf Course for the eighth annual Jackson Juniors tournament.  With us was the Gouk family and my buddy Joel Aro, who caddied for Finn while I looped for Reese.

It went quite well.

Reese’s score of 49 on the nine-hole executive course was good enough to win the girls 9-and-under division.  Emerson Gouk’s 51 was good for second place.

Seven-year old Finn also had a 49 in the boys 9-and-under division.  Two kids beat him, however, with 47’s.  Still, third place in his first-ever tournament — not bad.

Suffice it to say, we all eagerly look forward to our next time out.

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Today the family ventured to south Lake Washington for the kids’ second running of the Seafair Kids Triathlon.   The race was supposed to be a 100-yard swim, 3-mile bike and 500-yard run, but the “swim” was more a run through water and the bike was closer to one mile than three.

All in all, the kids did much better than in 2015.  Reese finished in a time of  10:34 — good for 84th place in a field of 113.  A very slow transition because of some shoe malfunctions ended her chances.  Finn finished in 8:43 — 25th overall and the fastest 7-under in the field.  (Ten other athletes were in that category: he was the fastest by 46 seconds.)   There wasn’t a lot of room for error in this race: the winner, an eleven-year old boy, finished with a time of 7:19.

A little short, even for a kids’ tri-, if you ask me.

Afterwards we took a quick trip to Seattle Center.  Regrettably we missed the Bite of Seattle — it was last weekend — but we still had a fun time frollicking in the fountain.

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Tonight Finn and his Zeeks Pizza Pilots played their final Farm 1 game of the season.  It wasn’t pretty, but we came out on top 19-13.  Our top-tier players all had off games — for his part, Finn had errors on both the base paths and on the field — but our role players came up huge to bail us out.

Perhaps most importantly, we finished the year undefeated against all other Farm 1 opponents — 11-0.  Our only loss: a 17-11 drop against Jay Miller’s Farm 2 (read 2nd grade) team in a specially-scheduled, unsanctioned scrimmage.

Undefeated, but not unblemished.

At the conclusion of our year-end, post game party, the Pilots (and a few siblings) pelted me with what seemed like 100+ water balloons.  One problem: I had my phone in my pocket.

It did not survive.

 

 

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Finn Has a BIG Game

While Reese and I were wrapping up our weekend in San Diego, Finn was killing it on the flag football field.  According to Ravens coach Christian Shewey, he scored two touchdowns on long end-around runs on the offensive side of the ball (see one of them, in which he apparently lost his shoe, in the video below).  On defense he had an interception and a sack that, according to both Christian and Finn, should have been a safety.

Perhaps most importantly, the Ravens emerged victorious against the opposing Lions.

It wasn’t seven-goals good, but two TD’s, a sack and an interception ain’t bad for a skinny-legged white kid.

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Finn the Climber

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It’s no great secret.

Finn loves climbing.

He had his seventh birthday at Vertical World.  We’ve spent more than a few evenings at the Seattle Bouldering Project.  And if I had a dime for every time he asked me when we’re going to go climbing next I’d be a very rich man.

His latest escapade — the climbing wall at the downtown REI.  Yesterday afternoon Finn and I hit it for his good buddy Carter Ellis’ 7th birthday party, and let’s just say he had a great time.

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And it wasn’t because of the pizza.

Four trips to the top of the 65-foot ball, the first few of which prompted chants of “Finn!  Finn! Finn!” from his classmates below.

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And I dare say I was more frightened watching him than he was climbing.

Next up: weekly lessons.

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