As I have stated previously in these blogs, I coached wrestling years ago and all three of my boys were very involved. I spent at least 10 years coaching the West Bend Wildcats followed by another four years of being an Assistant Coach for West Bend West high school.
One of my coaching highlights was having two sons on an incredible West team that won the 2013 Wisconsin Little Ten Conference wrestling tournament. Much to my chagrin, my wife forbid me from entering Maddie in youth wrestling tournaments. She would have been very good. She spent years in gymnasiums all over the State watching her brothers. When Jack and Drew wrestled in high school, Maddie became one of our scorers, something she excelled at.
I still spend many weekends in gymnasiums but now it’s to watch volleyball tournaments. I joke with everyone that the big difference between volleyball tournaments and wrestling tournaments is that the moms are much taller.
Maddie has played the last two seasons with the Milwaukee Sting. This involves lots of travel so, to keep the streak alive, I need to plan carefully in order to run. It’s nice I can use the run to get the lay of the land. I get up early in the morning and usually run to the venue. I can check out important things like what pubs are open early and whether or not they serve bloodies. I can locate restaurants within walking distance of the venue as well as any points of interests nearby. That’s how I found Churchill Downs when I was in Louisville, totally by chance as I ran past it.
I can get the feel of the culture of the city. I remember being in a state of disbelief with how many monuments there were in Philadelphia and how intense and in a hurry all of the drivers acted. On the other hand, I remember running in downtown Des Moines, Iowa. It seemed like everyone greeted you, genuinely glad that you visited Iowa. I remember running through the local farmers market in Des Moines and making a mental note of where all the street musicians and bands were playing. The run has always been the reason to get up early and get a jump on the day.
The past two years I have traveled in late June to the National Volleyball Tournament in Florida. I ran in 100-degree heat with humidity so high you could see it. It almost felt like I was swimming, the air was so thick. We stayed in a resort surrounded by a swamp. I would run at 5 a.m. in the morning when it was a cool, crisp 85 degrees. I ran down the middle of the road by the resort because I was afraid to be attacked by an alligator. In fact the week before I arrived, a woman had been walking her dogs and she was killed by an alligator that grabbed her off the path. Getting eaten by an alligator would most likely end the streak, but what an exciting way to end it!
Today I ran for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washington County. Bottom line is they need more Bigs, especially male Bigs. Executive Director Jaymee Harvey shared that 90 percent of matches last 36 months. They currently have 170 matches and counting. Statistics have shown children who are mentored are 93 percent more likely to pull themselves out of poverty.
My wife Kelly and I are nearly empty nesters having raised four kids with only Maddie left at home. Contrary to popular belief I think the kids turned out okay, perhaps Jaymee will let us be Bigs. Jaymee, please contact me in February when I am off the United Way Board. It’s time I become a Big.
Today’s run was sponsored by Horicon Bank, what a wonderful group of people. I ran with Mike, Steve, Nikky, Renee, Kristine, Mijal, Amy, Robert and Rose. I am sorry if I missed any of your names. It was a very enthusiastic group and another great example of a superior Washington County employer.
I have been blown away by the generosity of our community. The support has been amazing.
Thursday, Dec. 13 is day 8, see you at Elevate in Jackson at 7 a.m.