Saturday, January 30, 2010

For those who are curious, the answer is still yes!

Yes I still bleed baby blue!

The hardest part about being a fan of any sport is watching your beloved team (or teams) have a bad year or a bad few weeks. I'm thankful for Peyton Manning and the Colts for giving me something to celebrate this last couple of weeks since my beloved Tar Heels have hit a rough patch.

I'm a die hard fan, but I'm also objective enough to admit when my team isn't perhaps the best out there, and I've said all season long although this is a good team, they're not the National Championship team. I never expected them to win a repeat Championship this year.

That said, anyone who follows the sport has to admit that this team has really disappointed as of late.

The same can be said of the Madison High School wrestlers. They're so talented, but lately their lack of discipline and drive has really showed. Today was better. They placed four guys on the podium at the John Berry Invitational. Two 3rd place finishes, one 5th & one 6th. But given the talent level on this team it's still not where they should be finishing. It's frustrating to watch because I can sit up in the stands and watch the matches and see the mistakes they're making and rather than keep going half the time it's like they just roll over and give up.

Kind of like my Tar Heels the last two weeks. Although discipline is not a problem with any Roy Williams coached team, they've struggled with injuries, although that in itself shouldn't have been enough to merit 3 straight losses. They started this season with a certain amount of swagger. Coming off that National Championship, no one expected them to repeat, but they were expected to be a handful. And they were at first. (Just ask Michigan State.) But ever since conference play began they've just looked lost. Somehow that hunger and desire has morphed into something more like "Oh Crap, these guys are beating us! What do we do now!?!?!?!?" Part of that is their lack of experience. This is a young team. They lost a lot of leadership this year. But still, they have guys who were there last year and the year before. I know Tyler's gone, and he left some huge shoes to fill, but someone needs to step up and stamp their own brand of leadership on this team.

They finally won one against NC State the other night, so I'm hopeful that this is the start of an upswing that will have them tearing through the second half of their conference season. I guess we'll see against Virginia tomorrow night. If they come to play and gut it out until the end, they shouldn't have problems. If they get in a little scoring drought and start to freak out and shut down like they did last week, then we've got major issues.

I don't expect them to win another title. I never did. (Well, not for a year or two anyway.) But I'll repeat what I said a month ago, this is an extremely talented team. They've got everything they need to be able to run with any team in the country. Right now their problems aren't physical, they're mental. And they need to just get out of their own heads and start playing Carolina basketball. If they do that, then they could make a pretty deep run in March and do some major damage to everyone's tournament brackets.
And if they don't.....Well....I don't even like to think about that. Because if they don't snap out of this funk quickly they might be in danger of not even making the tournament. And to Carolina fans, that's pretty much the 7th circle of hell. After all, we do own the longest tournament appearance streak in the nation. (Not to mention the most Final Four appearances.) It's simply unacceptable for us not to be there!
Tomorrow's game will be a good barometer. On paper we should run Virginia right out of their gym. But everyone knows, the game isn't played on paper.
As for other teams that have caught my eye in the absence of a show stopping year by my boys in blue, there are a few that I'm watching with interest. Everyone is talking about Kentucky & Kansas. And that's fine.
But I'm keeping an eye on Purdue. Although conference play hasn't been as kind to the Boilers as they would have hoped, I can't count them out yet. They've got very experienced players with loads of talent and a couple of guys who can really shoot the lights out.
Villanova seems to be the forgotten team from last year's final four. A lot of people discount their size, but let's remember that they did make it to the final four last year with that same size. They have a lot of experience and some of the quickest guards in the country.
I almost hate to jump on the BYU bandwagon. This is a team that has had tons of potential for the last few years. They seem to do excellent in the early season, falter a little in conference play, and then come back just enough to get a solid mid-seed in the tournament, only to flame out in the first game. But after watching Jimmer Fredette put up 27 points in what was eventually their first loss after 15 wins, I have to admit that I'm intrigued. Intrigued enough to pencil them in as a potentially devastating team in the tournament, if they can keep it together.
And finally Syracuse. They made a big statement early in the year with huge wins over Ohio State, UNC and others. And everyone realized this was an underrated team. Then, as happens to all teams at some point, they lost one. But just one. I still think they're arguably the most talented team in the country. I've watched them come from way behind a couple of times this season. When other teams would roll over and die at 14 or 18 down, the Orange just refuse to quit. (I wish some of that attitude would rub off on my Tar Heels this year!) And they have a solid Player of the Year candidate in Wesley Johnson. That kid is amazing! And he's so fun to watch play!
So that's the update for now. Remember that just because I haven't been boring you all with my usual rantings about my sports, doesn't mean that I don't care. I still do. And I'm still here. And believe me, I've been watching with my usual baited breath. (Okay, not baited breath, pacing, yelling at the TV, pounding the floor, kicking the couch and in general turning into a baby blue Hulk especially during losses!) Be glad you're not here it's not pretty!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Newest Cousin

Ransom Reynolds Guffey
January 23, 2010
6 lbs. 11 oz. 19 3/4 inches

Proud Parents: Cami & Jacob
Prouder Big sister: Lily Jewell

Winter Weddings

So Travis and I have spent literally all day today at weddings. There were two. First we went to a sealing up in Rexburg for Damon and Addy. Then back down to Ririe for my friend Sammi's reception. For some unknown reason I didn't take any pictures at Sammi's reception. It was beautiful though and she looked amazing. I guess I was just so busy catching up with she & her sister, Cassi (who I literally haven't seen in nearly 15 years) that I just forgot to pull out the camera. I wish I had though. It would have been fun to have photos of all the Carnes girls. Cassi was my first friend in Indiana who wasn't from Brazil. I love her to pieces. And we had a great time chatting about all the people we know. I've missed her friendship, that's for sure!

The other wedding was my friend Addy. I love this girl. She's so stinking cute and fun! She got engaged 5 weeks ago and told her fiance, Damon she didn't want a big huge wedding, she just wanted to get married. (That's so Addy! She hates making a fuss.) Both Damon and Addy are very outdoorsy, so they had their reception at a place called (and I'm not joking) "The Shootout Barn" in Ashton. It's actually a huge barn that's been totally converted into a guest lodge and it was beautiful. They served wild caught salmon, halibut & oysters and a variety of yummy sides. The cake was delicious! It was small gathering, less than 50 people, just family and close friends. Exactly what Addy wanted. Anyway, I did remember to get pictures of this one.
Mr. & Mrs. Damon Burke

Okay so Damon went outside to help someone bring stuff in from the snow, but his boots were totally cracking me up!

Gideon was ready to go home by this point!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

2010 Wrestling Shirts

I got to spend the entire weekend doing something I absolutely love! Watching wrestling! As it turned out, I was the only adult score keeper they managed to get, so in addition to keeping score, I had to keep an eye on the student volunteers (most of whom had never watched a wrestling match before) to make sure they were all lined out on their jobs and understood what was happening. Amazingly we made it through the weekend with very little controversy over scorekeeping (And happily, none of it at my table.)

It probably wouldn't sound fun to anyone else, spending 8 hours in the same seat watching match, after match, but after following this sport for the last few years I have to admit I enjoy it! Yesterday was especially fun because my table help was better, (Jake Wade, Bochenek & Ty hung out at my table all day) and we got to visit and "discuss" ways to improve Madison's season. It's frustrating to watch them melt down like they did this weekend, because they've got so much talent and ability. But maybe a melt down is what they needed. Perhaps this will shake them up. (For the record when I say melt down, I mean, melt down. They didn't place a single person in any weight class on the podium.) But the boys had some good thoughts and they seemed determined now to make some changes.

I didn't manage to get any pictures of the actual wrestling because I was too busy. But I did get the new wrestling shirt this weekend.

No year and no names of the wrestlers, but I think they look pretty nice. And actually it may turn out better, because you could wear this one in the future, long after these boys have graduated.
The best part about being around the wrestling program again is seeing what an amazing job the Booster club has done! I'm not kidding. For three years I've watched with some frustration as disagreements and politics kept the booster club from really accomplishing some big goals. That's not to say that we didn't get things done. We managed to pull it together when we needed to for the tournaments, and we did little things for the boys to encourage them as best we could. But this year's booster club has already accomplished all of the goals we spent the last 3 years arguing over. The Madison wrestler's now have matching gym bags, warm-up suits and even...yes....the crowing jewel... Championship Singlets. Not only that, but for this tournament they put together a raffle for the tournament as a fundraiser, made more money in the concessions than ever before, and kept the coaches & officials lounge stocked and ready. And were more attentive to table help than ever. It seemed at least every hour they were bringing us drinks and treats of some kind. There were no major problems in the kitchen, no breakdowns of communication. Everything the boosters undertook went smoothly.
They partnered with National Guard and managed to get free shirts donated for the tournament.

To top it off they came to me yesterday with both shirts, to send to Cody. They even gave me one of the tournament shirts for myself.
It's amazing really, to see the miracles they've been able to work. The part that breaks my heart is that those miracles haven't seemed to rub off on the boys yet. But that's okay. The two Jakes & Ty are going to take on that challenge. At least that's what they committed to last night when they had to watch wrestler after wrestler stand on our beautiful podium, and not one of them in red, white & silver.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I think I have issues....

I think I like making goody bags and treats way too much. It's bad enough that I spoil my nieces and nephews with them every holiday (even though they're all across the country.) It's worse that I send my baby brother and his companion some kind of goodie bag or package at least every other month. I even send packages to missionaries from our ward that I barely know and one that I used to babysit forever and a year ago. But this might just be the kicker.

Goody bags for a wrestling team I don't even have to go watch because I have no familial ties to. Yeah. I have issues.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Happy Birthday to the King!

I think I'm going to celebrate by watching my two favorite Elvis movies, "Girl Happy" & "Blue Hawaii" because then I can pretend I'm someplace warm and forget that our actual temp this morning was -18. (It's 1:00pm and we're still only at 4 above with a windchill of -8.)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Okay, Now I Really Miss Him

For the first time today I can say that I truly missed my baby brother. I'm so happy for Cody because I know he's where he's supposed to be and doing what he's supposed to be doing, but yeah, I missed him today like crazy! Madison Wrestling is just not the same without him.

The boys welcomed me the same way they always did (several of them even inquired as to whether I'd brought treats. I promised them some next week.) Some of them sat and visited with me for a while. Jake B. really misses Cody. In fact, I took a pad of paper with me and he wrote Cody a full page letter in between matches. Apparently Cody's legacy lives on among the wrestlers because many of them said he's their inspiration.

Be that as it may, this team is a bit of a contradiction. They have more talent than probably the last three year's teams combined (excepting just a few individuals of course) but they lack discipline. And they're not in very good shape. Even their good wrestlers seem to run out of gas halfway through the second period. Interestingly the new assistant coach (who I met and chatted with for the first time tonight) is a cross country coach and he said he's going to start making the boys to long tempo-runs before practice. I told him that would improve their cardio fitness faster than anything else. I like Coach Snell, he seems to have the kind of focus and intensity that this team really needs.

Anyway, the boys have a week off before the Madison Invitational. I'll be manning one of the scorer's tables, so I'll have more updates then. Until then, here are a few pictures for mom & dad.

Tad is wrestling 119 & 125 (depending on the night) and he did pretty good. He pinned one guy & beat another on points. Not bad for a freshman.
Jake Wade was sick & Rick has other issues, so they were helping Tavin & Keith Wilson at the table.

Jake was up on points in this match, but ran out of gas in the 3rd & ended up losing 11-8. He was disappointed, but we had a long talk about it and he knows what he needs to do. (Yeah. Like I'm a coach. I'm not. I'm just an overbearing big sister who reminded him how good he can be when he gets out of his head and just wrestles because he loves it. He gave me a big hug before he left, so something must have stuck.)

Ty beat both of his guys fairly easily. I really think he'll place pretty high at state this year. He's already got more than 20 wins this season.

OH! And Nick was the highlight of my night! He's cut 30 lbs, he's wrestling 160's this year. Most of the guys are still taller than he is, but he is doing so much better at this weight!

It took him all of 30 seconds take this guy down and pin him. It was awesome!
(And for those who are confused, Nick goes to Skyline, he's a friend of the family though so I went over to watch his matches.)

2010 Calendar

So my friend Ashley posted on her blog the other day, pictures of the calendars she made for her mom and grandmother. They are so beautiful. You can tell that a lot of time and effort went into them. In fact, I'm a little in awe because as I was looking at the gorgeous pages all I could think of is how much creativity I lack. I could never think of the stuff she's done.

But I did make a calendar for my family for Christmas this year. I cheated and used Heritage Makers. (The thought of cutting and gluing and finding stickers and papers just makes me ill. Luckily with Heritage Makers it's all online so it didn't really take much.) But I was quite proud of myself (until I saw Ashley's calendars) becuase I didn't use a template I actually made this from scratch. Now it seems kind of plain & ugly to me.

Oh well, the good news is that because our family is so large we have at least one birthday or anniversary in each month of the year, so what I did was make the people with birthdays or anniversaries that month's models. I also already loaded all of the birthdays, anniversaries, due dates and other important dates on the calendar so everyone would know.

Anyway I know these pictures aren't the best quality, sorry, but it was just me taking pictures of it, so it will have to work.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Hard at Work

So my brother-in-law Kelly works construction and since we live in Idaho it means that he spends most of the winter plowing snow for the city. In the three winters we've spent in this house, today was the first time his crew has ever made it over to this side of town. He stopped and visited with us for a few minutes, while they worked on our street.

Kelly in his rig.

Gideon was so enthralled by watching the tractors that he pulled the bar stool up and sat at the window screaming. He'd point and yell, "See! See! See!" He was very excited by it all. And when he saw Travis and Kelly out chatting on the walk he proceeded to laugh and yell, "Daddy, Keh-wee, Daddy, Keh-wee!" (For those who don't speak toddler that's Kelly when you can't pronounce your l's.) Over and over again!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

There's Something Almost Magical...

...About the smell of new running shoes! It's very exciting really. I'm about to go put the first few miles on these babies, but I wanted a picture of them in their pristine condition first. (Don't you love the fact that they're Carolina colors?)

BTW - I'd run barefoot, but since this is the view outside my house right now, I think I'll wait until spring for that! (Those of you who have read "Born to Run" know what I'm talking about.)
Happy Running!

Friday, January 1, 2010

What were you doing at Midnight?

So the Resolution Run actually turned out to be kind of fun. The goodie bags included fun stuff like noise makers and other New Year's stuff. The weather was better than expected. The temperature moderate, around 26 degrees, so not nearly as cold as it could have been. And the five inches of snow predicted didn't start falling until after midnight when the run was over, so that made things much easier. And among the perks at the finish line were hot chocolate, spiced cider and warm bread.

I liked the format of the run, basically they wanted everyone crossing the finish line as close to midnight as possible, so you had to guess how long it might take you to finish and then they'd start you out at an appropriate time. I guessed 38 minutes, so they started me at 11:22 I was the only person who started at that time, and basically ran the entire course almost in complete solidtude. It was actually kind of cool and almost peaceful running by myself along the frozen river under the lights. It was just a good peaceful run.

Official times haven't been posted yet, but I did manage to cross the finish line a couple of minutes before midnight, so I can tell you this was easily my personal best 5K. Here's a picture of me at the finish line:

Oh, yeah that's right. Somehow my photographer was up past his bedtime and therefore a little slow on the draw. Oh well. I finished that's what matters. And at the finish line I was informed that I won one of the drawings so in addition to the typical race bag schwag I got to bring home a Scrabble game. It's not even been opened yet and Trav & I are already arguing. He says it's legal for him to use welding terms but not legal for me to use Dutch words. Well. We'll see now won't we?
Anyway the snow has started falling in force now, it's over an hour past midnight, so I think I'm going to take a hot shower and head to bed. Happy New Year everyone!