Dave and Cathy's Family Blog

June 30, 2014

June 2014 – Family Updates

Filed under: Lilah and Luke,Mom and Dad — dave9169 @ 11:41 pm

June Highlights:

Lilah Promoted to High School

Promotion is what they call middle school graduation nowadays. As you know, Lilah can be very particular about things. This character trait of hers was again evident when she asked me if “I bragged about her accomplishments.” I said that when the topic comes up in conversation I may mention an accolade or two, and then I asked if that was okay? She said, “yes, it’s okay for you to brag about me.” So now that I have her permission I can say that Lilah was promoted with honors and received the Presidential Scholarship Award for maintaining a 4.0 GPA all through middle school (and her entire academic stay at her K-8 school).

At the promotion ceremony, several of Lilah’s classmates gave valedictorian-style addresses. In one of the speeches Lilah’s classmate talked about how special their time at this school was because they will probably never again get the opportunity to spend nine years together with the same kids. Another girl pointed out how eighth grade was a year of “lasts,” as in last ski trip, last middle school dance, last pajama day, last open house, last beach day, last school announcement over the PA system, last bus ride together…etc.. Many of the students and parents became emotional during these recollections, not to mention all the tearful goodbye hugs once the event was over. From what I could see, Lilah remained pretty composed throughout the ceremony — although she did admit to feeling sad a few times while listening to her fellow students’ words.

As parents, we really enjoyed being able to keep Lilah in one school for nine years. We saw her go from a very shy kindergartner with a tiny voice, to an assertive young lady who will tell you exactly what she thinks in a voice that sometimes seems well beyond her years. We love you you Lilah! Below is the dedication Cathy wrote to Lilah in her final yearbook from Santa Rosa:

How you have grown, like Cinderella at the ball,
A beautiful young lady…braces and all. 😉
Your playful attitude keeps us on our toes,
whether it’s a mischievous photo-bomb or a silly story,
your good-hearted nature shows.
We love you for being you, so don’t change a thing.
Keep true to your one-of-a-kind self, stay strong and soar,
The world is yours to take, let your heart sing.

Lots of love, always,
Mom & Dad

Celebrating the World Cup Together

My parents have never really been into sports. I kind of get it. They came to this country as immigrants with one goal: make a better life for their kids. For them, this not only meant working hard, it also meant learning the language, learning the culture, and learning all the little things to make them productive in a new country. Sitting down to watch sports was a luxury that they simply didn’t have time for. I can still remember my dad getting upset with me whenever he would see me watching baseball or American football on TV. In fact, if he saw me sitting in front of the TV for more than 30 minutes watching sports he would turn it off and tell me to do something else — like help him in the garage, cleanup weeds in the backyard, or pickup up poops in the dog run. Maybe I exaggerate a little, but I’m not too far off base as I remember taking lots of eating and bathroom breaks from these chores my dad would give me so that I could run into the house to turn on the TV and check the score of the game I was following.

If you know my dad, you know he’s a doer and on any given weekend you will find him working on house projects, fixing or maintaining his car, or tending to his garden. To him, “sitting on your ass” to watch a sports’ team play a game for three hours is a complete waste of time because it means something is not getting done. That being said, even in my youth my parents could sometimes be coerced into watching sports if there was a story behind the athlete or team they were watching, something they became more attuned to every four years when the Olympics or the World Cup took center stage.

This year, we had a story we could all follow: the Chilean team was playing in the World Cup with one of the best squads they had ever assembled. I seized on this opportunity to suggest that we watch Chile’s first match of the World Cup together. When I showed up at my parents’ house, I immediately felt a little under dressed as both of them were donning Chilean soccer team jerseys. I’ll say it again — my non-sports watching parents were wearing team jerseys to watch the game! We cheered as La Roja (what the team is called in Chile because of their red jerseys) beat a feisty Australian team 3-1. The next game on deck was with Spain, the defending World Cup champs. From the first touch we could see that this Chilean team was really attacking well, leading to what all the experts considered a surprise 2-0 victory. My parents jumped up and down after every goal and were thrilled to see that their small nation had knocked the champs out of the World Cup, which meant Chile would advance to the elimination round.

My sister and Sebastian joined us for Chile’s last game of the World Cup against soccer powerhouse and host nation, Brazil. In three previous World Cups, Brazil had handily knocked us out of the event, something that was in the psyche of every Chilean fan, but from the start of the game you could tell this game was going to be different. Chile again played well-organized attacking soccer. This team definitely did not shrink from the moment. It was looking good for La Roja until Brazil scored the first goal. We let out a collective sigh as I’m sure the rest of the nation did along with many of my friends and family who sent comments to me via text or Facebook. But the Chilean team showed heart and managed to score a beautiful equalizing goal deadlocking the game at 1-1 where it would remain for the entire 45 minutes of the second half, as well as the 30 minutes of overtime where Pinilla almost scored the game winner with one minute left in the game, rifling the ball straight past the goalkeeper, only to have it hit the crossbar. Just a centimeter or two lower and Brazil would have been eliminated. Instead the game was decided on a dramatic penalty kick shootout. It didn’t start off good for Chile as they missed their first two penalty kicks, but then Brazil opened up the door by missing two of their own. It then came down to our last shooter to keep us in the game, but that’s when the woodwork of the left goal post came to the rescue by blocking his shot and giving Brazil a heart-breaking victory over the team we had watched with so much pride over the course of three weeks.

It was tough to see Chile eliminated, but we all loved the way they played and fought. It also gave me a chance to see and hear my parents talk about why they liked watching their team so much. My mom and dad both loved that so many of the kids on the Chilean squad come from humble barrios and commented on how wonderful it must be for them to have worked so hard and overcome so much to play and represent the nation so well at the World Cup. The sentiment about working hard is one I understood very well, especially in the context of my mom and dad’s story. Chile had indeed done the nation proud and even though we were disappointed they would not continue on in the World Cup, we all agreed that the best part about the entire experience was getting to watch the games together. My mom got so into it that she mentioned that maybe she and my dad need to follow another sports team (perhaps basketball) so that we can do this type of stuff again before the next Chilean team brings us renewed hope at the next World Cup in four years (fingers crossed).

One More Race Before National Championships

I had originally planned on racing the Breath of Life olympic distance course for the first time, but I had a muscle strain during one of my runs two weeks before the event so I switched to the shorter course as I did not want to jeopardize my fitness for the National Championships. This ended up being a good move as I set a personal best time for the short course, beating last year’s time by almost two minutes. This was the first race where I’ve averaged sub seven minute miles on the 5K so I am feeling really good about my fitness going into National Championships. This was my ninth year in a row doing the short course and even though it’s not the most scenic or interesting venue, it is my favorite event because it is the only race in which my entire family comes out to watch and cheer me on. I am looking forward to Nationals in Milwaukee in August. It will be the first time I’ve ever raced this event and I will get to bring along one of my favorite travel companions: my dad.

That’s all for now…more next month!

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