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Our big weekend in Duluth is just days away. Dale is ready to run the marathon, although with work projects his training hasn’t been as intense. Adam is running the 5K this year after having competed in the Gary Bjorkland Half Marathon last year.

New to the Pork Power team is our daughter Beth, who will be in 7th grade. She’s planning on running cross country this fall, so as she works to get in her summer miles, the William R. Irving 5K provides a great opportunity. Dave and Suzie Olson along with their two daughters will also be running in Duluth. They are pork producers that live near us.

Having just spent last week in Des Moines at the World Pork Expo combined with other end of the year school activities has not allowed me much time to focus on this race. I sense that will change as we get closer to the actual day. Grandma’s Marathon is a great event and being part of the health expo as pork producers is a wonderful opportunity to talk about pork as a lean protein for athletes.

Beth asked if I would run with her during the race and of course I agreed to. But I have a feeling that once we get a mile or so into the race, her pace will quicken and I’ll be telling her to go ahead without me. It’s exciting to think of her starting her running career. I’m sure there will be many exciting races in store for her.

Last night was our end of the season track awards ceremony. The coach uses this time to recap how the season went and then spends a little time acknowledging each team member. The senior members of both the boys and girls team also have the opportunity to get up and say a few words.

USC was fortunate enough to send to athletes to the State Individual track meet. Our discus thrower placed 7th in his event and our 800 m runner placed 7th in her event. What I found interesting and heartwarming was that while these two individuals commented that being at state was a great experience, they placed greater emphasis on the support they received from team members, parents and the community. My interpretation was that while being at state was great, having the love and support of family and friends is even better.

As other kids spoke during the evening, their message was similar. The support of their coaches, teammates and parents directly contributed to their success.

These kids get it. Each one of us enjoys having the spotlight shined on us occasionally, but what gets us through the ups and downs is the love, encouragement and occasional kick in the butt, from those around us. We are better when we surround ourselves with good people.

Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.

          Michael Jordan

It’s seems timely that the first snowfall of the season falls on the start of basketball season. Today Beth’s 5th grade girls’ basketball team had their first practice. As the coach, I told the girls I had two goals for them this season, which really are the same as last season; to have fun and to learn and improve.  

For those of you that have followed this blog, you know that Power Power has not only dealt with what we do, how we eat and how we train. It’s also dealt with what we think and how will feel. For these girls it’s just as important to have a positive self-image about themselves and confidence in what they do, as it is to make a basket. I also like to stress teamwork and supporting and encouraging each other through the games.

I enjoy coaching and have been fortunate to coach a number of the kid’s teams in a variety of sports. It’s not just the winning, although I am competitive. I enjoy watching a group of kids work together to accomplish common goals. I love to see the “Ah Ha” moment on their faces when the things I have been telling them finally make sense and they actually do them.

So stay tuned, basketball season has started and we’re in for a fun time.