Finally the soccer season has come to close. Unfortunately it ended with Jerms team losing at the state tournament, so it was a bittersweet ending to be sure. However it has been a great summer of soccer. The sport has brought us to Anchorage multiple times and Fairbanks, ending with the state cup here in Kenai. During our travels we got to visit my sister and her ever increasing family, some long lost friends from Kodiak, the Wolffs, who were on the precipice of moving to Seattle from Fairbanks. The Coons who now reside in Fairbanks, and of course my Mom who is still in Eagle River.
I must admit, prior to coaching soccer or watching the kids play soccer, I was not a huge fan. I did not understand the appeal. I mean there are no home runs or slam dunks or three pointers, and what the heck is up with the offsides? Then the refs are always playing with cards and waving flags, it seemed more like a parade at times. Now, well now it is a different story. I have come to learn and appreciate the nuances of the game, the beauty of a perfectly set up cross, the thrill of a header goal, the rarity of a blocked penalty kick, the trickery of offsides, and the amazing full speed footwork, all of it, to me, has become interesting and enjoyable. Even the refs and line judges have felt the wrath of my tongue, a sure sign that I am enjoying the sport I am watching. I will even admit I have actually chosen, not by accident like at a sport’s restaurant, but chosen to put the t.v. on a channel where a World Cup soccer match is being played and watched it. Soccer players are incredible athletes that have earned my admiration.
I guess it is like anything else,when you take the randomness out of it and understand the order of what is being played out before you eyes, then you can appreciate the beauty of what is occurring. It also helps if your kids are participating so you feel vested in the outcome therefore peaking your emotions and proclivity to care. It probably doesn’t hurt that unlike football, the weather is often warm, and you get to sit on the sidelines in comfy lawn chair coaching a prefect game with all the other sideline dads, with no risk. So today’s post and pictures are dedicated to the summer of soccer and the joy, exhilaration, frustration and aggravation it brought to our family; or in other words, LIFE.
Twas an interesting day today; sunny yet windy, warm yet slightly cool, and an ever present weather change on the horizon. So we decided to venture out to one of our local annual events, the Kenai River Festival. Basically it celebrates….. well it uhhhh, hmmmm not sure what it celebrates, but it has something to do with the Kenai River, and people sell things.
It is a lot of fun for the kids. They have free face painting by very amateur local volunteer artists. Jo’s butterfly actually looked a little like a butterfly, well done. They also had a lot of FREE crafts for the kiddos. Several of the kids painted a wooden salmon on a stick, and no it was not edible. I have never so many glitter covered purple fish in my whole life. It reminded me of a bad prom theme. Then they went on to make birdhouses, again for free. Now I won’t say who, but one of our kid’s wood working skills resemble Dorian’s ( see previous post wood working 101) but for the most part the bird houses weren’t bad, good enough for the birds in our neighborhood at least; they’re not snobby birds, and not particularly bright as evidenced by the barrage of bird attacks on our windows.
Finally, after two 10 gallon garbage bags full of kettle corn, we saw some rockets red glare blasting through the sky. Immediately the kids honed in on this activity and it was rocket building time. Jo, Jeremy and Ben all built their own rockets and then had a launching competition. Lest you think we let the kids play with rocket fuel, these were air powered rockets built strictly out of construction paper. I must admit, I was very impressed with the elevation those pieces of paper could reach, and yes Jo’s rocket went the highest!
I think the kids, other than Alli on crutches had a good time. I know I had a good time watching the kids, seeing some old friends and eating popcorn, until I got a stomach ache from sugar laced popcorn. Why can’t I ever quit eating popcorn when it is put in front me? Perhaps they lace it with nicotine along with the sugar. I can see popcorn regulations and warning labels in the near future.
There were a lot of unique shops and fish related activities. Perhaps this is a clue as to the purpose of this yearly fair. Next year I will make it my mission to find out, and maybe we will see you out there too, we can have a kettle corn eating competition till the death.
Or AWANA as it is officially known, is a weekly event in our household. AWANA stands for, Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed, and it is not AWANAS, just AWANA. To break it down, almost every Wednesday night we load up the van and head er north to the church with a pit stop at the coffee shop along the. You see the coffee shop is a must for I am a game guy at AWANA. A game guy’s main responsibility is to run the snot out of the kids with minimal injury and maximum fun. Therefore a game guy must bring energy every week into the game time, whether it be God given or artificially injected into the system.
By the time I finish the 16 ounces of hot liquid adrenaline, I am ready to go. The little kids like Jake get to do crafts and games downstairs. I have not had the pleasure of watching this but I take it 15-20 3-5 year olds leave their mark in an hour and 1/2. For every time I wander downstairs to pick up Jake, I see the tussled hair tear stained cheeks of the volunteer teachers. Sometimes they have a vain pulsing in the side of their neck and they are always extremely grateful to see me and watch the herd of toddlers disappear. Yet they continue to show up week after week.
After the introduction, song, rules, and prayers, the kids head off to do Bible verses and study. They have listeners in each room corralling them and focusing them for an hour each until they are let out of their corral into the bull ring, where I work.
My job is not nearly as difficult as the listeners or the toddler teachers. There is usually 3 or 4 of us to run games. We try to come up with unique style themed games for every week; Games that are not too complicated but not too easy. Games that wear the kids out but keep them focused on the prize. As game guys one of our favorites is dodgeball. You see our version of dodgeball is to line all the kids up against the wall while we hurl plastic balls at them picking them off one by one. The last 3 standing get points for their team. Funny thing, the kids seem to love the game too.
Sometimes we have overall themes, like this week was inside out and backwards week, and Mr. Kelly went all out, literally down to his underwear. It seemed to add and extra dose of energy to the kids, something I really did not care nor was I prepared for.
AWANA needs millions and millions of volunteers each week, well at least 20, and we seem to have them. It can definitely be trying some weeks, like this one. I often wonder if the kids are not stopping at the same coffee shop on the way north? Perhaps they get the 24 ounce. I may have to step up my game.