Life in the ‘C’ League

I am sure that all of my avid readers (Mom and Dad) are familiar with my bio which reads, “Bureaucrat by day, ‘C’ League athlete by night, I fill the rest of my time thinking about things I should be writing about and sometimes fighting crime.” I will leave an account of my career as a vigilante for another day, but  I will take a little time to tell you about my life in the ‘C’ League. The timing only seems right as my volleyball team starts tournament play today.

I have been living large in the ‘C’ League for three years now. I am sure you are bursting with questions.  What is life like in the ‘C’ League? How did I get here–how can you get here? All are good questions. You don’t wake up in the ‘C’ League; getting here has been a journey which is why this will be a two part post.

Am I an athlete? Mrs. Larson’s 5th grade class certainly thought so when they voted me “most athletic girl.” This distinction of my athletic prowess put me up there with the best of the best; the cream of the crop. *Jenny, *Kelsie, and I reigned as the most athletic girls in the whole of the 5th grade.*Names have been changed–athlete’s of this caliber don’t need to be distracted from their training by pestering fans.

I stuck it out with the greats for a few years. but I always knew when it was time to retire. Some people might question my usage of the word “retire” rather than “quit.” Quitters walk away when they are faced with adversity; that’s not what I did. I made a series of strategic choices. Following the prolific career of an elite athlete can be  tough. So, I will break my career down by sport (starting in Junior High) and reason for retirement.

Sport: Track

My track career ended after a highly successful 8th grade season.  I walked away from the last meet  as the regional champion in high jump, long jump, and triple jump much to the chagrin of *Kelsie who was the favorite in the jumping events. Some might argue that I shouldn’t have walked away while I was on top, but ultimately, it was the right choice. I considered jumping into another season, but on my way to the first practice, I made a last minute judgement call and instead opted to enroll in a pottery class at the local rec center.

Reason for Retirement: Diversifying my interests while still on top

Sport: Basketball

I was a solid starter throughout junior high. Tall and lanky, I was an excellent re-bounder who inevitably spent almost as much time falling on the floor as I did running up and down it. Years of YMCA basketball had prepared me for the rigors of being a true baller. During my 8th grade season, we ran the sideline play “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too” (I suppose I should note the coach was also our history teacher) like a well-oiled machine. Hindered only by a lifelong ankle injury, I finished that season well-prepared to enter the world of freshman ball. That summer I geared up by attending a basketball camp at a college campus in a neighboring state. It was there that i learned that there is very little I like about girls basketball. From the shoes to the shorts to how serious all the girls took it, I just knew that the sport wasn’t for me.

Before camp was even over I had decided I was done. However, I did purchase a great sweatshirt that remains a household favorite. So, there’s that…

Reason for Retirement: Required open gym attendance would infringe on valuable time in the boat the following summer. 

Sport: Cross Country

I ran varsity cross country from 7th through 10th grade. Cross country is, for the most part, just as miserable as you would imagine it to be. I am not a natural runner, but I managed to make it work. But after four years running varsity, I reasoned that it was time to turn in my spikes (this is literally just a saying–I never thought buying spikes was that necessary much to the annoyance of my coach). My main contribution to the team was a positive attitude.

Reason for Retirement: Came to my senses

Conquering (or achieving the most marginal level of success) and later retiring from sports was an important step in achieving my current status in the “C” League where I am currently living large.

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An Entrepreneurial Spirit: Varmint Control

I might currently be a bureaucrat, but there are certainly days that I vehemently wish that I owned my own business. This desire is generally the strongest when there are sub zero temperatures, and the idea of putting on work clothes seems about as appealing as contracting leprosy (in my alternate, business owner reality I get to wear sensible shoes and jeans to work in the winter). It is on these days that I fondly recall the summer sun, bare feet, and my first venture into the business world.

I was young. I was hungry. I was ready to take the world by storm. Reality check: I was 6. It was summer, and I lived one door down from Ed’s Bait Shop aka The Candy Store. I was looking for an extra 35 cents. *Don’t scoff. 35 cents could get you a tootsie pop, a blow pop, and 3 gummy worms OR 35 tootie fruties OR 5 peachies and 2 gummy worms. The possibilities were endless. Like any self-respecting 6 year-old, I liked to hit up the candy store around 3 pm after having a nice little rest. My mom was certainly willing to finance this daily venture, but 25 cents was all I got. I had big dreams; 60 cents could buy a full bag of skittles. Summer is always full of possibilities, and the summer of ’96 was no exception.

What was my business you ask? Lot’s of kids go for the lemonade stand, but not me. Well, I should say not us. At 6, I wasn’t ready to give up all of my time to growing a business. I had a very active social agenda, and I saw the value in having a few partners to lean on and help with math that went beyond simple addition and subtraction. It was a family venture. My older brother and I boldly entered into a partnership with a brother/brother combo. Our business was critter catching. The neighbors no longer needed to worry about that pesky raccoon getting into their garbage. We were prepared to trap it.

How successful was our business? Well, we caught every critter we went after–we had a 100% success rate. This meant, of course, that we caught one raccoon. Why didn’t we stick with it? I really couldn’t tell you, but I like to chalk it up to differing management styles. My career as a varmint hunter and a principal owner of a successful business was short-lived, but I know what success (and a full bag of skittles) taste like. So who knows, maybe someday I will once again be struck with the entrepreneurial spirit. But, it’s tough to imagine a better career for me than varmint control.

**Correction: After posting I was reminded that the 3 pm trip to the Candy Store came after rest time rather than prior to it. 

Here we are after our first (and only) great success. Not we are all holding up one finger to note that this is just the first of many critters we intended to catch.

Here we are after our first (and only) great success. Note we are all holding up one finger to signify that this is just the first of many critters we intended to catch.

Living Each Day

New Year’s resolutions are not a new phenomenon. As the sun sets on each year, it is quite common for people to take a step back and reflect the on their past 12 months. That reflection time is often brief and results in a new found dedication to diets, exercise, organization, and other life improvement goals.  This year I took a step beyond making new resolutions.

Rather than just looking back on areas where I fell short, I took time to remember the days I found fulfilling, memorable moments, and all of the fun times I had. I was inspired by a friend (aka I entirely stole his premise) who explained to me at the close of 2014 how he took the time to identify his top 30 days of the year using fulfillment, memorability, and fun as the primary factors.

I found that I had a hard time making a similar list. It is possible that I didn’t dedicate as much time to it as my friend who came up with the exercise while studying for law school finals. Why is it that we are so often struck by great ideas when our focus should be elsewhere? Regardless, I am positive that I had many days and experiences in 2014 that were memorable, fulfilling, and fun; I just couldn’t recall all of them or pinpoint the exact day most occurred. But, I loved the idea of tracking those days and am taking a more thorough approach in 2015.

This year, I am using a very basic spreadsheet to track the most significant event of each of my days whether it be a meeting, a meal shared with friends, or a soccer game on an uncharacteristically warm January day. At the end of the week, I pick a “Best Day.” And from my list of “Best Days of the Week”, I pick a “Best Day of the Month.”  It will be easy come December to pick my “Best Day of 2015” because I will already have it narrowed down to 12 days.

It has been one month since I started this exercise, and already, I am incredibly grateful for it. Here’s why:

  • Even on the most frustrating and tiring days, there is a diamond in the rough. It might be an important lesson learned, but most days it is just the active choice not to let the bad out-shadow the good.
  • If I am ever a key witness in a criminal trial, I will be able to clearly recall my day’s activities. There won’t be any of Serial’s inconsistencies.
  • I love Sundays.

And most importantly, I have been reminded that each day is a gift. The time we have on this earth is precious, and we should use it wisely. Tracking my daily activities has led me to live my life in a more purposeful manner. So, here’s to 2015 and the implementation of pirated ideas!


            That’s All She Wrote