Friday, July 20, 2007

Catching up - I'm going on vacation next week!!!

This past weekend the Fresno PAL Triathlon team traveled to Rancho
Seco Park to participate in the Tri for Fun and Tri for Real
Triathlons sponsored by TBF Racing. The Tri for Fun was a sprint
distance tri (.5 mile swim, 16 mile bike, 3 mile run), and the Tri for
Real was an Olympic distance event (.9 mile swim, 24 mile bike, 6.2
mile run). 7 students participated in both events combined, with only
Albert, Carlos and myself completing the Olympic Distance event.
First the results! Edna (triathlon convert from water polo!) and
Elizabeth (founding member) placed FIRST in their division in the Tri
for Fun event! Edna did the swimming and running and Elizabeth did
the running. Angel and Gabriel successfully completed their first
full triathlon in great time. Victor hadn't been practicing with us
for a while, but completed the duathlon race that day in fine shape.
Albert, Carlos and I handed out water to people and had fun doing
Sunday, on the Olympic Distance Event, Albert finished first in our
group (yes, before me...) with a time of 2 hours and 55 minutes! I
finished with a time of about 3 hours 2 minutes. Carlos finished
under three hours but had a spectacular sprint finish.
TBF was amazing – giving us free leftover pasta after Saturday's
event (which we combined with chicken and rolls for dinner that
night!) and being extremely accommodating of our group as always! All
of our donated racing bikes worked flawlessly (no flats!) and the kids
ran in their donated shoes and Fresno PAL shirts. Well, except me who
ran shirtless (See the photo gallery for explanation.)
Finally, the best part of the trip was Saturday night. While I
always try to find ways to positively affirm my student/athletes, I
have usually found that such comments hit home better when given in
private for the population I serve. However, over the campfire, I
went around to each student and spent about a minute praising them in
every way I could think of – glossing over the, "problems," and
frustrations I sometimes feel with them. In turn, I invited the rest
of the students to find something positive to say. I was amazed at
the honesty around that campfire. They all either took it seriously
or kept quiet if they couldn't say something worthwhile. Even some of
the guys got kind of emotional. The end was particularly touching.
As I dismissed them to leave, Gabriel piped up that what they'd been
talking about was to say something nice about me. So all seven kids
said something nice about me. I've realized the impact the Triathlon
was having on them in terms of grade increases, ditching decreases,
and events competed in. Yet perhaps I failed to really think about
how when it comes down to it, any kind of coaching situation is
ultimately between the athlete and the race, and the coach and the
athlete - imparting knowledge and care in a uniquely human endeavor.
Note that this was just after they'd lovingly cut my hair...
Thank you, individual donors and partners. Thank you, friends and
supporters. And of course, thank you Sargent Doyle and Fresno PAL,
whose leadership has made this program more effective and made the
past six months happen. We're taking a two week break (because I'm
going on vacation!), then will start training again in mid/late August
for the Shaver Lake and Merced Triathlons in September and October.
Last week we also received word that we were selected for a sizable
donation by a private party, securing our finances and allowing us to
buy better equipment for the students, transportation costs etc. and
in short further validate the Triathlon Experience these students are
I have never more proud my students (from McLane High School!) this
weekend as they competed (and won!), volunteered, and conducted
themselves. You may view some pictures from the weekend at:
and the official TBF Results/pictures will be up soon at

* These past two weeks I was at a math conference on teaching ELL Students better and it was amazing! I learned all about foldables for vocabulary, better notetaking, projects, and just hanging out with other math teachers! 3 days of it were at the beach too!

1 comment:

mathnerd said...

It is great that you can get such a good relationship going with these kids! I am positive it will be a huge impact on their lives! And yeah for vacation time! I am going on vacation for the next week and a half too. :)