Saturday, May 28, 2011

In Motion

After an extended tour of duty at the ITA's western-most outpost, it was time to hit the open roads for Park City, Utah and a summer stint of grad school at Westminster College.

Before leaving the Evergreen State behind, though, I had an appointment with the surgeon. Apparently, I'd been skiing the last part of the season with a shoulder in serious need of repair. Dr. Rossi ably sewed back up my shoulder. If my shoulder was a timepiece, it would have been sewn up from the 11 O'Clock to 7 O'Clock position. Now, I get to wear this instant conversation starter 24hours a day for six more weeks. At least Stein Erikson doesn't seem to mind. Being in Park City works great for this, as I can hike up the still snowy mountains, then download on the lifts back to where I began. Probably only endurance-minded athletes would be stoked to ride chairlifts down the mountain.

Clarence Clearwater may have never seen the good side of a city until he saw it from a riverboat. I think the same can be said for the view of the city from a mountain top. The air is cleaner, the blues are bluer, and the sound of silence is startling.

The leaves, they are a changing. Stay tuned for more updates through the summer months.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

In the Wenatchee Valley: Live4Adventure

Community Adventure Race Set for Apple Bowl
By Torin Koos

The Wenatchee Valley’s a buzz about a new race set to take place Saturday evening, May 21st in the Apple Bowl arena and adjacent parks.

If you ever turned the television to ABC’s Wipe Out and wanted to get off the couch to take on an obstacle course with the big balls and water and mayhem, the Live4Adventure organizers had you in mind.

Just like on the small screen, announcers will provide a running commentary of race proceedings from atop the Apple Bowl control tower. Also at the three stages of the relay event, course-side commentators will be out to provide a little color as the teams navigate through the course.

The first part of the three-leg relay tackles a hay-bail and foot high hurdle-adorned bike route. The flag-lined course snakes its way out through the grass fields of Triangle and Pioneer Parks. The cycling stage is hosted by Wenatchee Valley Medical Center who partnered with local biker John Scarfotti to design a course to test ten year olds, offers a something for elite bikers, and above all else is safe. “The seven-to-ten minute ride will give the racers a taste of the madness of cyclo-cross racing,” said local physician and Live4Adventure board member Stuart Freed. “For the experienced racer, this won’t be a significant cycling challenge. For this athlete, the event is about coming out and enjoying a big community event. For a ten year old, though, it might just open their eyes about what you can do on a bike.”

From here, teams hand off to the second racer for the Sport Skills & Games Stage. Combining elements inspired by NBC’s Minute to Win It, racers are told to expect the unexpected. “No one will be able to achieve a high level of expertise at all the venues,” said Dr. Freed.

Stemilt Growers hosts the Sport Games Stage. “At Stemilt, we’re all about promoting community, education and health. And the Live4Adventure hits a homerun in all these areas,” said Courtney Mathison. “It’s about getting kids and adults fired up for sport in a way that gives back to the schools.

“Its such a tragedy to see that happening with obesity taking so much of our kids life, said Mrs. Mathison, a former pediatric physical therapist. “My passion is health and fitness in children. Most won’t become an Olympic athlete. Yet everyone can be a participant, a player.

“For someone like me that grew up in Texas, the Ridge2River was a scary event. Even to watch was a challenge. I call the Live4Adventure the no excuses race.”

The third and final stage is the Biosports Strength and Agility Course. Physical therapist Michael Hanson has three decades worth of human movement expertise gained from helping to heal everyone from Joe Montana to the regular Joe. Whether it’s flipping combine tractor tires or navigating an aquatic course with kayaks in Pioneer Park’s 50 meter pool, look for the team at Biosport to set a new standard in obstacle courses.

“Sitting in the Apple Bowl, you’ll be able to see the whole race,” said Dr. Freed. “In the stands, it’s going to be a riot. This is the perfect race to take your place in the field. This is a race to wear a costume to.”

For more information visit: or contact 509-885-4231. Scholarships to have the race fee waived are available by writing an essay on your greatest adventure. “We want to be inspired,” say race organizers.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

For Whom the Bell Tolls: A Story of Duty and Honor

photo from USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Album. May 1, 2011

The moment arrives. At this moment both opportunity and duty collide. The bell tolls. Without having to ask, without hesitation or delay, you know its for you. You answer the call.

Its at this moment you have a destiny to fulfill. When Theodore Roosevelt said "The man in the arena... knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; he spends himself in a worthy cause" that's exactly what he's saying to me.

photo from USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Album. May 1, 2011

Hemingway's For Whom The Bell Tolls opens with a John Donne poem of the same name. In it, he says:

any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind,
and therefore never send to know for whom the bells
tolls; it tolls for thee."

Just as any death diminishes, every act of of kindness or greatness enhances us; both as individuals and as a community. In sport, we continually redefine ourselves with every honest, taxing effort given. As a MH-60 Black Hawk or F/A-18C Hornet Pilot like my cousin Mike Shaughnessy provides close air support in last week's Pakistan theatre of operations they redefine what it means to be an American. I feel emboldened by their attainment of skill, sense of purpose and composure in answering an incredible call of duty.

As a token to the tenderest of debts, I hope in this small way today to honor those who have honored us all. By answering the call of duty, you have set a standard for us all to live up to. Bonne Chapeau.

same day at the track with the mountain lion distance crew.

"For whoever much is given, much is expected."
-Paul Tergat

After a short talk with Coach Peck and Coach Wolfman, 4x400m await the kids. Wait, what is that I hear ever so faintly in the distance?