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Archive for the ‘Memorable Days’ Category

For the last four years I’ve coached a Zeeks Pizza baseball team.  We started in tee ball, first as the Pirates then the Penguins.  In 2016 we graduated to “Farm” (coach pitch), first as the Pilots and this year as the Panthers.

Through all this time we never lost a game.  Sure, we didn’t keep score in tee ball, but in the two seasons we did, we never lost a game.

Pretty good.

We put all that on the line yesterday in the Farm Division final against the Metier Bombers.  Christian Shewey’s Bombers came as the no. 2 seed and, next to us, by far the best team in the league.

We got the job done.

Barely.

Things started out well enough.  We had a 4-0 lead after one inning and a 4-1 lead through two.  But the Bombers rallied for five runs in the third to take a 6-4 lead.  I thought we were in big trouble and I think most of the Panthers did, too.

But we rallied big time.  After the game was interrupted for a “4th inning stretch” featuring Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” we rallied for five in the fourth to take a 9-6 lead.   Thanks to some base running blunders on the Bombers’ part we shut them down in the top of the fifth, which meant that three runs — and a 12-6 lead — would seal the deal.  (A five-run limit per inning would make a six-run lead insurmountable in the last inning.)

Three runs is exactly what we got.

What made the victory so sweet was that everyone, from the top of the order to the bottom, contributed.  As for Finn, he went 1-for-3 batting at the top of the order.  He scored a run with a nice slide at home plate and made two nice plays at third base, one on a towering pop up and another with a bullet throw to throw the runner out at first.

All in all, a fantastic finish to an incredible run of little league baseball.

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Last night was one of those nights that was just — well, cool.

On Monday morning I received an email about some sort of open Husky softball practice around of this weekend’s NCAA regionals.  It included a t-shirt giveaway.  Sounded pretty cool, Reese can always use a free t-shirt, so I sent out an email to the Models parents and by yesterday afternoon I had five players and my assistant coach, HT, committed to join us.

A signature pyramid attempt before practice began. (Clockwise from the top: Maddie, Emerson, Gracie, Emily, Sammie and Reese.)

We headed to the softball stadium in the early evening.   I was expecting to see fans by the hundreds.  To my surprise and dismay, there weren’t any more than a dozen more.  (I’ll leave my rant about the short shrift women’s sports get for another post.)  Because of this, our access was front row — literally.  When the Huskies concluded their stretching routine inside Dempsey Indoor — a routine we copied (I’m still sore) — they invited the girls over for some high fives and gave them a cheer.

In the middle of those Huskies are our Models, including Reese.

It got better from there.

The Huskies then moved over to the softball stadium.  We joined — and literally sat in the front row.  Like fifteen feet from the players, if the crow flew through the net.  And as we were pretty much the only ones in the building, we weren’t unnoticed.  Perhaps most noticed was Finn’s Panther teammate Isaac Couch.  At one point he was dancing in the outfield bleachers, and shaking her groove thing with him from a distance was none other than Husky 3B Taylor Van Zee.

World class athletes, all.

It gets even better.

After a few hours of watching practice, we decided to call it a night.  It turned out that in the course of their evening shenanigans, all the girls got balls.

All but one.

Emily.

We started to walk home on that back east road, near the lake.  Everyone was happy as clams but there was a tinge of melancholy because one of our Models hadn’t collected a ball.

The Models with their souvenirs.

For some reason Reese looked back south.  Just then — and I am not making this up — someone at Husky batting practice laced one clear out of the stadium.  “Look!” she yelled.  The ball was headed for its permanent resting place in Lake Washington, took a huge hop — and hit the guard rail between the road and the lake.  It bounced back in and stopped in the road. Reese chased it down and VOILE! — Emily had her ball.
We continued our walk back, with me and HT commenting on what had just happened.  “Dude, that was WEIRD!” was the general gist of it.
Reese opined “that was karma.”
She was right.
Either Emily had something good coming to her from the universe, or the Huskies have something good coming to them (NCAA championship?) or a little of both.  But it was a pretty darn cool moment and one I won’t soon forget.

Post-practice we did dinner at Din Tai Fung — and got out of there for $90.

The girls were so wound up from their experience that they refused to go home.  We ended up eating dinner at Din Tai Fung, where we escaped for $90, and then grabbed a quick dessert at Menchies.
Home by 10:30, on a school night.
Pretty sure a few of the Models were tired at school today.
I’m certain of this because from all the texts I received from parents, their Models couldn’t stop talking about what a great night they had.
They weren’t the only ones.

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Last night, the Jenkins family ventured downtown.  Our destination: the Space Needle.  The reason: our tenth anniversary, and we brought the kids along with us.

It was my first time up in the Needle in about thirty-plus years.  Neither the kids nor Rhonda had ever been there.

Dinner was excellent if a bit pricey.  I passed on the $99 filet.

A few photos:

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Last night the kids experienced a first.

Christmas caroling.

I initially came up with the idea as an outing for Reese’s Laurelettes group, but I expanded it to include Finn’s LightningHawks group as well.   We had roughly ten kids and ten adults in total, which made for a nice-sized group.  We went up and down 50th Avenue NE in Laurelhurst before singing our final song at the home of Tisha and Darren Patt.  From there we hit the Laurelhurst Beach Club to watch the Christmas ships pass by.

I’ll remember the night as a great time out with family and friends.  Finn will remember it as the night he did his first-ever solo.  That’s right: Finn and a few of his buddies were so excited to get to the next house that I finally gave him an ultimatum: slow down or sing solo.

He didn’t, and he did.  At the home of the Laurelhurst Fletchers.

Just a guess, but we may do it again next year.

 

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History!

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For the last eighteen-or-so months, the American zeitgeist has been about one thing — the presidential election.

It all came to an end last night — election night.  longtime Washington insider Hillary Clinton for the D’s, billionaire outsider Donald Trump for the R’s.

Ms. Clinton came into the night a heavy favorite.  The betting markets gave The Donald a 13% chance of winning.  I had it closer to 100:1.

Wrong.

Trump routed Clinton in what is being called the greatest upset in the history of American presidential politics.

Trump won the poor and uneducated as expected. But he also did well with the rich.

Trump won the poor and uneducated as expected. But he also did well with the rich.

The Jenkins family, one of probably three families in Laurelhurst who support Trump (and no doubt the most open), stayed up until President-Elect Trump announced that Ms. Clinton had called to concede defeat.  It was 12:30 am in Seattle — 3:30 in Trump’s New York City.

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For the kids, it was a very late night.

For their part, the kids kept track of the race on electoral boards we printed off the internet:

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I wore my “Make America Great Again” hat:

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It worked.

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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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Paula Creamer gave Reese her glove — and the memory of a lifetime.

Today Reese and I ventured to the Eastside.  Our destination: Sahalee Country Club, for the Women’s PGA Championship.

And a memorable day it was.

Early in the morning, Reese and I spent most of our time watching players at the range.  The principal object of our viewing: Paula Creamer.

Little did we know.

About twenty minutes into her practice session, the Pink Panther removed her glove; signed it; walked over; and handed it to Reese.

The nine year old was speechless.  I teared up, so much so that, with the water works not subsiding after a few seconds, I had to walk away to compose myself.

We officially have a new favorite player.

We spent the vast majority of the day star gazing.  Among the big shots we saw up VERY close: Michelle Wie, world number one Lydia Ko, Alexie Thompson, Condaleeza Rice and Ken Griffey Jr.

There are worse ways to spend a school day.

 

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