A Stones Throw 2-6-14


“Dad, I have archery practice after school.”

I had to smile when I saw that David Hewitt started his Along the Trail column with this quote a few weeks ago.

Two weeks before David’s December 26th column I had the opportunity to watch my grandson Logan participate in his first archery tournament. It was not only his first archery tournament – it was also mine.

I have to admit, I really enjoyed the intensity and the enthusiasm the sixth graders showed during the tournament. While standing at the line, focusing on the target, each contestant seemed to block out everything but the bow, the arrow, and the target.

Most arrows hit the target.

Some did not.

It really didn’t matter. It was competition at its best. Each archer was competing with himself – or herself – as well as against all the other archers.

I think what impressed me the most was that each archer supported every other archer. It seemed that competition and sportsmanship were equally important.

After the tournament I asked Logan when he had a chance to practice his archery. His response: “I have archery practice after school.”

I don’t think archery was available to Kevin and Kelly when they were in sixth grade but that didn’t keep them from being active in sports and other activities. I know there were a lot of days when we felt the activity schedules were impossible to meet.

After last weekend, I think we had it made.

While too many young people spend way too many hours playing video games or whatever games you play on televisions, iPads, or iPhones, (Including my grandchildren), it is nice to see when sports and other activities share in importance.

Last Saturday Jade and I took the opportunity provided by one of the few nice days of the winter to watch Kelly’s daughter Lexi play soccer and then Kevin’s daughter Erin play soccer.

We had two soccer games 60 miles apart.

What a day.

While watching Lexi play in her soccer game I asked Kelly where Logan was.

Right – Logan was at archery practice preparing for an upcoming tournament.

After Lexi’s game we drove to Erin’s game. It was her only soccer game of the day, but it came after three volleyball games earlier in the day. And, there was another volleyball game that evening.

Meanwhile Joseph had baseball practice Saturday after having a basketball game on Friday. And, Jack had a lacrosse game on Friday as well while Erin had basketball practice.

If that is not enough, Kevin’s youngest daughter Emma – better known as “hot mess” – now has gymnastics practice and Jack has added fitness and agility training to his schedule.

Most importantly, all six grandchildren are ‘A’ students.

I have to admit I am not sure I could survive the schedules my grandchildren maintain. I do know I am proud of them and of their parents.

Yet, I still worry that they are spending too much time engrossed in the video game of the day.

I do know that watching third and fourth grade girls playing soccer last Saturday was much more exciting and certainly much more competitive than last Sunday’s Disaster Bowl. (You knew I had to get here eventually.)

Monday morning the first thing I read was an article that started with “What was your favorite Super Bowl commercial?”

I didn’t answer the question.

I didn’t read any more since I assumed the writer was waiting for an answer so he/she could discuss my answer. Or, probably more accurate, the writer really didn’t care about my favorite commercial so I didn’t care about his/her’s.

Still, the question about my favorite Super Bowl commercial was better than the question “What did you like best about this year’s Super Bowl?”

On second thought, maybe this is a better question.

I do have two answers to what was best about this year’s Super (Disaster) Bowl.

First, I liked nothing about it – except that it is over.

If that isn’t good enough, I did like the fact that the coin toss was botched. It was both a foreboding and a reflection of the game to come.

If you can call it a game.

Meanwhile I wonder how the thousands of fans felt after paying $1,400 a night for a $200-a-night hotel room in order to pay a $1,000 or more to watch the worst Disaster Bowl game in 25 years.

I know how I would feel.

I would leave the game broke, angry, and looking forward to my next Grandchildren sports weekend – which can be every weekend.

Basketball and lacrosse games on Friday night.

Soccer, volleyball, and Basketball on Saturday.

Oh – I forgot to mention – an archery tournament on Saturday.

– Mike Cooney