Saturday, March 27, 2010

You're The Best! (ok, 3rd... but STILL!!!)

Today Logan participated in his first karate tournament. I had signed him up to compete in padded swords and flag sparring. He was out the first round in padded swords since he kept going for the kid's legs, lol. He has always loved flag sparring and did well. He placed third out of 20-25 kids. He was really motivated after seeing other kids getting trophies in the padded sword division and him getting just a medal. He kept telling me "Mommy, I want to win a trophy." "I really want a trophy." I told him that he could try to win one by taking all the other kids' flags and boy did he set himself to the task!! He did have a mini meltdown when he lost to the last kid, because he thought he didn't get a trophy. Crazy kid! He didn't care at all about getting taken out the first round of padded swords! (We had to address grace in defeat after the tournament, lol.) Ultimately, he was elated to have won a trophy and is very proud of the fact that he did it himself. This was Logan's first sport event/game that he has ever participated in and I am happy that he feels a measure of success.

As to the video... I have had this song running through my head all week as we were preparing for the tournament and I really couldn't help myself. It is a home movie, so it isn't really great quality. I saw parents out there with tripod set-ups! I kid you not!!! (When you see how packed these tournaments are and how there is no room to even walk, it seems ridiculous.) Making this was a hoot!! Here I pay homage to The Karate Kid with my own karate kid:

Friday, March 19, 2010

Thursday's Hero

Blake was honored on Thursday, March 18th for his military service (specifically, his deployment to Iraq). The history behind this was that a few weeks ago my brother Matt emailed Tom Holmoe. He is the Director of Athletics at BYU and told him about how Blake is a huge BYU fan and will be home for two weeks around the same time that spring football starts. Matt asked Tom if it was possible that Blake could watch a little of spring football since he had missed the 2009 season. It was just kind of a shot in the dark. Matt was surprised when Tom emailed him back that day saying they would definitely let Blake come. Matt called me very excited and so it began. We tried to keep it from Blake, but he was onto us about a week into coming home.

The day came and Blake's uncle Rusty was able to come with us. Patrick Hickman, a recruiter for BYU football, showed us around the football offices and we got to see Bronco Mendenhall's office and all the other staff (like Brandon Doman!). I was VERY impressed with their new facilities and their film rooms and team meeting rooms. They surround their staff and players with awesome resources. They showed us a highlight reel from their 2009 season. The good parts version... everything you want to remember, lol! We got to see the locker rooms, which are the nicest locker rooms I've ever seen. (Blake had me take a picture of Harvey Unga's locker. Hahaha...)

After the tour we were led outside to see the team practice. It was awesome to see the team running drills and playing a little scrimmage. Incredible really, to see all those players you usually only get to see from far up in the stands. We found out while talking to Patrick that he was from Stockton (small world!) and that he remembers well Atwater High and Beyer High's football teams.
After practice was over, the team huddled together and Blake was led over to them and he was introduced to them by BRONCO MENDENHALL!!! The following are Blake's memories of what happened afterward and then I will put in my memories.

Blake: Well, Vic So'oto and Matt Putnam (team captains I'm guessing) spoke for the team. They were incredibly nice and mature young men, and were both two of the biggest, tallest guys on the entire team. They both thanked me for my service and were all very appreciative of the military and what they do. Vic handed me a bag full of BYU gear, hats and shirts and other stuff. And Matt Putnam asked me to sign their team flag that they will have up for the 2010 season. They said that those they have sign the flag commit to live the honor code and conduct themselves as representatives of BYU. These players were very nice guys, knew about our family and that I was heading back to Iraq in a few days. I thanked them all for the experience, and was really humbled by the whole situation. It was all kind of a blur and quite a surprise. I had no idea I would be presented to the whole team and coaching staff, I had a great feeling of being undeserving of all of it. Oh yeah, I then got to lead the team in a 1,2,3 Go Cougars...and then all the players and coaches came by and shook my hand and said thank you. Chad Lewis (former Cougar great and Philadelphia Eagles All-Pro) was also there and came by and said hi.

The coaches were all there and came by and talked with us and were very nice. Bronco came by and said I needed a hat, so he gave me his (it was new and clean). I talked with Jake Heaps for a while (star Freshman recruit considered the #1 quarterback recruit in the country this year), who just wanted to stop by and thank me for my service. The entire team signed a BYU flag for me and everyone was nice enough to stop for some pictures.

It was a very humbling experience for me to be in that position, but as a fan it was so freakin' awesome!!! It was all very classy and generous of the team and everyone involved. Just have to give a huge thanks to Matt Bartholomew for his passionate and heartfelt email to Tom Holmoe or none of this would have happened.

Back to Diane: Vic So'oto first awarded Blake some BYU gear. His words were very kind. He said something to the effect that they were honoring the work Blake was doing in Iraq and know that whatever they are doing and how hard they are working, they know that the work the Army does in Iraq is much harder. He mentioned a few specifics that I was surprised that he knew (like his going back on Monday, and where he is serving in Iraq). Matt Putnam then had Blake sign the team flag and then gave him a team flag of his own that the whole team was going to sign. I was very impressed with the team and staff. Bronco stayed and talked with me for a while while Blake was shaking hands with the team. He even asked me where my twins were. Many of the staff, like Brandon Doman (we talked about 5-year-old boys, he has two, and holes in the walls, lol), and the players talked to Logan and I. So'oto gave his wrist bands to Logan and he put them on right away and was so proud. Many players stopped and chatted with us for a bit. It was obvious that the team takes an effort to know who their visitors are and make them feel important. It worked! Blake (and the rest of us) walked away from the whole experience a little choked up and very humbled. Besides a HUGE thanks to my brother, Matt, big thanks to Tom Holmoe, Pat Hickman and Duane Busby for setting everything up and taking such pains for us and thanks to Rusty for taking some great pictures!!! It was an amazing day and not one soon forgotton!!