Baby K Maternity

Baby K Maternity

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Runways and Bases

Written by Daddy:

Last weekend was a busy athletic weekend for Connor.  Recently, the airport closest to our house, Ft Lauderdale/Hollywood International, expanded their south runway.  This project has been decades (yes decades) in the works and was finally completed.  Back in August, prior to the runway opening, the American Cancer Society announced they would be having a 5k on the Runway. Unfortunately, a week prior to the event, they postponed it.  I assumed that meant cancelled but they were adamant that they were going to have it.  In late January, I received an email stating that the run had finally been rescheduled for Saturday, February 28, 2015.  I immediately signed back up and emailed the event organizer to inquire about pushing a stroller.  I figured Connor and I have spent countless hours watching planes take off and land at that airport, how awesome would it be if he could be out on the runway.  At first I was told they wouldn’t allow strollers.  I kept pestering and eventually they informed us that strollers would be allowed but we had to officially register and pay for the child as if they were running.  Within minutes of receiving the email, Connor was officially registered.  I was so excited.  Two of my favorite thing (running and airplanes) were being combined into one event that I would get to experience with my big little buddy.  
  Connor loves to run.  I can’t tell you how many times I get home for work and Connor asks to go out and run around the block.  Sometimes he asks if we can go around twice or expand our route to cover other blocks.  I love running with him.  He has so much energy it’s hard not to enjoy the time outside.  I have taught him that running as fast as you can is not always the best plan and sometimes it is better to go a little slower allowing yourself to go farther.  When I registered him, the plan was to let him run as far as he could, then push him in the stroller the rest of the way.  I didn’t know how it would work since the longest we had ever run was just short of a mile.  The days leading up to race day, it was all Connor could talk about.  We were out to eat one night and the waiter asked what he wanted to drink.  Connor replied by telling him that tomorrow he gets to race on the runway.  By race morning, I am pretty sure half of South Florida knew Connor was running the 5k.

Unfortunately due to security concerns, we had to be parked by 6am.  That meant waking up around 5 and being out the door by 5:30 to account for inevitable traffic (which proved to be a smart move).  With the weather forecast clearing up, Mommy decided to bring Caleb to cheer on Daddy and Connor.  So out the door we went an hour before the sun came up.  Mommy dropped us off and drove to a park on the south side of the runway to watch us go.  At around 6:45, they opened the gates for all 3500 runners to begin the almost half mile trek the start line.  Of course we stopped for pictures.  I think it took us almost as long to venture that half mile as it did to run the 5k. 

After stopping for pictures in front of the runway, sitting on the tire marks, sitting of the 29L sign and countless other places, the race started.  We lingered towards the back because I didn’t want to run people over with the stroller at the start line.  Connor ran for the almost a full mile before jumping in the stroller.  He would get in and out about every quarter mile but definitely ran more than half.  At one point as we ran up the elevated portion of the runway, we stopped to take a picture overlooking the Spirit Airlines fleet which was cool because they planes were on a lower level.  Connor loved going back down the sloped portion of the runway especially when I would let go of the stroller and run alongside him.  As we came to the finish line, Connor jumped out of the stroller and ran the final half mile.  I was super excited when I glanced at the race clock to see a clock time of 32:04 as we crossed the line.  After we finished, we walked back towards the entrance gate to collect our medals.  As we glance back up the east end of the runway, it was monsooning.  We called mommy and told her to start heading our way and we would meet her in the middle.  Mommy found us and Connor proudly displayed his medal.  He was so proud of his accomplishment.  He wore his medal the entire day (he even showed it to Brad Meltzer later that day). 

In the end, our official time was 30 minutes, 33 seconds.  It was an awesome experience not only to be on the runway but because I got to share the experience with Connor.

 Sunday morning was another fun filled, sport packet day.  Immediately after church (another early morning) we raced to the ballfield (my old field) so Connor could participate in the Opening Day Ceremonies.  Anyone who knows me, well most people who know me well, knows it take about 13.2 seconds after meeting for me to mention that I love the Boston Red Sox.  Love might be not be a strong enough word but that’s another story.  This is Connor's second year playing for this league. Last year he was in the 4 and under t-ball league which is organized chaos on a good day.  Don’t get me wrong, it was fun and he learned the basics.  This season however, I wanted him to learn more so I signed him up for the 4-6 year old Sr. T-Ball League.  This season the coaches begin to teach and develop the basics and then some.  There was a tryout and draft.  A week after tryouts, I got an email informing me that Connor has been drafted by the Red Sox.  DREAM.COME.TRUE.  It is highly likely that the most excited person in the house was me.  My son plays for the Red Sox.

 Opening ceremonies are simultaneously fun and boring.  All the kids get to parade out with their teams dressed in their uniforms.  Billy the Marlin from the Miami Marlins was there.  The Commissioner and Mayor of Hollywood spoke and they had a ceremonial first pitch for both baseball and softball.  The real fun began immediately following the ceremony.  Connor’s team had there first game.  The Red Sox played the Dodgers.  In Sr. T-ball, each inning goes for 3 outs or 7 runs whichever comes first.  They keep score and stats and the win/loss standings are updated.  All the kids hit off a tee the first time in through the line-up.  After the first full time through the line-up, each kid is through up to 3 pitches from the coach to hit.  If they do not hit a fair ball, they get 3 swings off the tee.  Connor’s coaches had been working with the team hitting off the tee and hitting thrown pitches.  It showed.  Connor’s team won the game by mercy run after 4 innings.  I can proudly say that Connor hit safely off the tee and hit two of the coach pitched ball in his next two at bats.  His second at bat he grounded out but his third he not only got a single, he also came around to score.  All in all, he was 2 for 3 with 2 singles and a run scored.  Not a bad stat line for his first game.  His fielding needs a little work and his attention span is still being trained but I could not be more proud of how my little man played in his first big boy game.  I am excited about his team and coaches and how he will develop as a ball player.

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