First of all, these pictures are all courtesy of Kaela (thanks!). John took pictures of the sporting events, but due to all of the downloading of the thousands he took, it might take a while to get access to them.
Michele and the kids left late Friday afternoon - a bummer because we all enjoyed their visit so much. Sigh....but Michael missed his family, so it was good they went home (I guess).
Saturday was full of sports events. First up, was Mikayla's first volleyball game. I ended up having to keep score, which, now that I look back, was probably a good thing as it kept me from stressing on the bench. Most of these kids have just begun any introduction at all to volleyball within the year, so it is a brand new ball game (literally) for them. Working with kids that new to the sport is a practice in patience, that's for sure. During the first game, I had to bite my tongue watching Mikayla from saying, "Why doesn't she move her feet to get to that ball?" And yet, they all did just fine, and will only improve as the season goes on. In fact, after losing the first game, they turned around and won the next game, with each of them already showing increasing ability. I think one of the biggest obstacles for us, as coaches, will be the tug-of-war between trying to encourage volleyball skills that will be implemented in the upcoming years vs. "going for the win", and disregarding "skill sets". (Things like trying to pass the ball twice before sending it over the net, encouraging setting, or pushing for the overhand serve). I think it would be best if we went for the middle road in all of that, as, having come from a season where Mikayla's team never once won a game, I can testify that that can quickly discourage a kid from wanting to continue in a sport.
When the game was done, we got home with just enough time to straighten up the house in order to have it look "decent enough" for Walt, Kaela, and Aaron to join us at halftime for the Duck game. This game was very nerve-wracking. My heart was racing and hands unsteady while watching. California definitely had "our number" and broke down our usually explosive offense...resulting in a very "Un-Oregon-like" defeat of only 2 points. But, it was still two points more than the other team, so we are now 10-0. Two more wins left, and we are headed to the national championship. It's very surreal.
At this point, I have to put in a caveat on behalf of the Beaver fans. So sad.... Michele said that this loss to Washington State was almost easier to stomach because they felt "just angry" at their team for never getting with it....vs. that grief of a heartbreaking loss of just a couple of points. The Beavers just didn't ever really show up. OSU is one of the two teams we have to win against before getting to Glendale (where the BCS Championship is held), so, for our sake, I hope that they (OSU) don't really show up to our game either.....
So, back to our evening, I'm really glad that Walt, Aaron, and Kaela came over, as it helped a bit to dissipate our tension through the game. Plus, they are all just downright fun to have over (especially on a weekend we were flying solo without the Whites). Love that trio!
The dog in this above picture is Dudley. He is the Quigleys' dog, and he is such a sweetheart. They asked us if we could watch him for the weekend while they were in Sunriver - and we'll say "yes" again anytime they ask. He's a lot of fun....full of personality and still a cuddler.
Finally, Brayden's team had their first shut-out of the year defeating the other team 31-0. In the beginning, it didn't look like it was going to be so lopsided, but ultimately, because we had a throwing game and they didn't - that's what made the difference. Next week, the championship at Autzen Stadium.....I really hope this team takes it all the way as they have worked SO HARD for it.