April 20th, 2008
Tyler is 15 now and has been playing competitive league basketball pretty much for 4 years I think. He’s been playing football even longer. He’s on the High School Freshman teams for both.
Anyway, yesterday I took Tyler out to his basketball games in Santa Barbara. It was a pretty good time overall. Ty reminds me somewhat of me at that age, but then I think all the kids end up reminding me of my best and worst qualities at that age. Tyler has great focus, which I had when I wanted to, about art or what interested me. Tyler loves sport, and being on a team, which I despised at that age, other than, perhaps, hanging out with my friend Chris or working on a mural.
So we drove out to Santa Barbara from Moorpark, and got there just in time. First game was against Sophomores and Juniors, and the boys got beat, but they played well and didn’t resort to any nasty play — the opposing team got I 3 fouls for unsportsmanlike conduct over the course of the game. After the game, one of the referees took the whole team aside and complimented them for not giving up, not laying down, and for “playing classy” — the team coach said this kind of a compliment is rare, and was proud of the performance the guys showed.
The facility they all played in is called the Thunderdome. The thing is shaped like a cross, and can have up to 6 games going at any one time. We were on court 1 for the first game. They fit that many games collapsing folding bleachers. The name always makes me chuckle, though the stadium was built before Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.
We had a bit over an hour between games and I decided to try out UCSB’s pool facilities. I hadn’t swum yet, and I gotta do that if I am able. It was real nice, though it took me a while to get there since I had to track down an ATM first. But I got about 30 minutes in of laps. Their pools were huge! When I was done, they even had one of those swimsuit-spinner things that dries out your suit. Lots of college kids working out, playing games, swimming and using their gym facilities.
Tyler hung out with his team while I did that. I ran a little late, but luckily with the number of games going and the natural margin for error at tournaments, I was right on time for the game at 7 which started at 7:15.
Ty’s team was evenly matched for the second game. They were tied 17-17 at the halfway point — the games are played in two 20 minute periods. But the other team hustled real well in the second half and they got ahead by about 12 points. Moorpark started to close in them, but when the buzzer sounded we lost by 4. Disappointing loss for the boys. Of course they were tired from playing a game just two hours earlier, but so was the other team. There is another game today (Sunday).
On the way home we got sandwiches — I wanted to get some well-made fast food — a non chain take out burger joint, but we found a Subway and got footlongs. It was good stuff and we both ate hearty.
Like I wrote, Tyler is 15 now and has his driving permit, so he can drive. He didn’t ask to drive on the way there, but he asked on the way home. Saturday night on the 101 out of Santa Barbara didn’t sound like fun to me, so I offered him Oxnard to home, and he did fine. He’s sort of iffy on some of the transitions — he turns a bit too wide going left, but he listened to criticism and kept us safe. I never felt like we were out of control.
Next week on Saturday I’ll be attending my Sister’s wedding around Washington, D.C. I’m so excited for her. She and Daniel have been together for a long while, and we’re so happy for them both.
Today we have some last things to do at the old place, and another game for Tyler. I’m not sure where swimming fits in, but then I never do know. I’m on a four-streak (Taxes broke the last one). I guess I’ll see how it turns out. I’m not sure I have a specific goal in noting the streaks. I know very well that stuff happens to break the days-in-a-row swimming streaks. But there’s something important about this keeping track. Somewhat like this article about Jerry Seinfeld’s “Don’t Break The Chain” — here’s an article describing it: Jerry Seinfeld’s Productivity Secret:
Years ago when Seinfeld was a new television show, Jerry Seinfeld was still a touring comic. At the time, I was hanging around clubs doing open mic nights and trying to learn the ropes. One night I was in the club where Seinfeld was working, and before he went on stage, I saw my chance. I had to ask Seinfeld if he had any tips for a young comic. What he told me was something that would benefit me a lifetime…
He said the way to be a better comic was to create better jokes and the way to create better jokes was to write every day. But his advice was better than that. He had a gem of a leverage technique he used on himself and you can use it to motivate yourself—even when you don’t feel like it.
He revealed a unique calendar system he uses to pressure himself to write. Here’s how it works.
He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker.
He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. “After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”
Welcome to Thunderdome!