Tuesday, March 13, 2007

March Maddness - Koester-Jess Style

It's true
*Madison just hosted state girls high school basketball tournaments last weekend.
*Madison will host the high school boys this weekend.
*Our University of Wisconsin Badgers men's basketball team is ranked very high and are headed into NCAA play-offs.

HOWEVER, this si not the March Madness of which I speak. We had our own family version this past week.

First up is Rowan. She joined an afterschool league run by Madison School and Community Recreation. Initally she was hesitant to join the league since its a 3rd through 5th grade league and she hadn't played before, she wondered if she'd feel comfortable playiing with kids with more experience. After reminding her that there would be other inexperienced kids there, she agreed to give it a go, though she wasn't thrilled about the games.

Well...game day came on Tuesday, she started the experience in tears, having forgotten her tennis shoes for warm-up and the coaches not being able to find her team shirt. Her classroom teacher, who is absolutely wonderful, stepped in to help and I had a moment between meetngs, so I ran to the school with her shoes so she could warm up. By the time we arrived near the start of game time, her attitude had done a 180, she was pumped and ready to play. Her biggest complaint about the expeirence was that she didn't get to play enough! Yes, she loved it!!

She's a great runner and keeps up with the ball well, knows when to hang back for defense and when to move in for offense - all skills she's acquired through her years of playing soccer. As you can see from the picture though, her next level of skill development is getting those hands ready to receive a pass or go in to steal the ball. All that soccer training has taught her to keep hands tight to her sides to avoid a handball, rather than to have them up and ready for a basketball.

Not to be outdone by her oldest daughter, Jani played basketball on both Thursday and Friday afternoons. Every year Evans Scholars (http://www.wisgolfer.com/cms/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=249) does a weekend basketball-a-thon to help raise funds for four local organizations, Jani's program, working with homeless kids in the schools has been a recipient for many years. The agreement is that her school host a few teams to play the Scholars -
*one team of fourth and fifth grade aged kids.
*one team of school staff members.
*one team of afterschool program staff members.

The kids typically play the school staff the day before the basketball-a-thon to get in practice. Jani played that game.

She was happy to only have to play for a little while on Friday afternoon against the college folks. Don't you love her basketball playing outfit - as you can see she was thinking she might not have to play at all, decked out instead of a t-shirt in her UW Badgers shirt, jeans and tennies. She kept stats and is show here sharing those with the school's prinicipal who also played.

Now as if that wasn't enough, the girls participated in a gymnastics exhibition on Saturday morning. It was a non-competitive meet where they each got to show off their skills. Gemma's favorite activities are on the bars - the little girl has incredible upper body strength. She's also great at tumbling. Rowan loves and is really good at the trampuline and beam. Here they are getting their trophies at the end of the exhibition. Gemma is so proud of hers. Thanks to cousin Carrie and Marsha for coming to watch this event and have lunch with us to celebrate afterward.

Gosh, it appears I was the only one not doing some sort of sport this weekend. Oh well, now that the weather is shifting into spring I can get back to walking, running and biking. Rowan and I are planning to train for a spring run - probably Race for the Cure, a fall run - most likely the Canterbury Run for LIteracy and an early winter run - the JingleBell Run for the Arthitis Foundation in December.

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