Friday, May 30, 2014

#howibean: Pacific Northwest Edition

The classic L.L. Bean tote (with custom ITA logo, no less)
filledwith shirts for Mr. Haberberger's 6th graders at Orchard.
Outside of the competition arena, perhaps the coolest part of being an Olympian comes in the opportunity and influence you have on the up-and-coming generation. It's for this reason, I have been plenty proud to be a part of In The Arena for the past seven years. Following an Olympiad like Sochi, I feel the power of positive influence is doubly enhanced.

Taking in the final spectacle before turning the Games over to the Paralympians.
During this time, In The Arena has grown in strength, influence, and numbers. During this time, plenty of companies have wanted to join in. But only L.L. Bean and the vision of ITA have met in perfect harmony. I couldn't be happier. I know L.L. Bean from my early days, packing up the groceries in the classic red-handled tote bags. Almost 30 years later, my mom still puts those tote bags to good use.

I've picked up a couple of my own, and have been sporting them as I have visit schools, ski clubs, Boys & Girls Clubs, and YMCA's, from Astoria, Oregon to the Wenatchee Valley, to Winthrop, Washington all throughout May this year.  Now that the calendar turns to June, I've done a little accounting: nine schools in four school districts; two states, two ski teams, two community events. Looking back, I probably could have snuck in a couple more, but I'm proud to say it's been my most productive month ever as a community mentor. It's been a very nice bonus to have L.L. Bean along for the ride.

I was particularly stoked that I was able to join forces with fellow ITA'er Brian Gregg and visit the skiers from the north country in the Methow Valley. Flash, Laura, and Leslie were very positive influences on my early days skiing, and it was great to see the excitement such a small community has for nordic skiing. It's not hard to understand how a valley with 1916 residents produced three-point-five Olympians in Sochi.  

A small collection of the US ladies' infamous storm-trooper
white L.L. Bean boots. Made in Maine, lifetime warranty.
I rock a pair of these as well, only in a more-muted brown.
Go William Go. A kindergartener from Astor Elementary
attacks the post-Opening Ceremony skills session with
some serious skill. No wonder Landon Donovan got
 left off the 2014 World Cup Team.

To the best of times.
       And those that will be.