Monday, January 30, 2012

Local Shoe Offers

I'm using all my meteorological mojo to keep the skies clear for our first practice on Thursday. I'm looking forward to getting this season started. Remember to always check the web site or Twitter (@ctktrack) for practice updates.

One thing you'll want to be sure to equip your athletes with is a good pair of running shoes. Please note: "running shoes" are not the same as "track shoes," which have spikes on them. "Track shoes" are not required at all, and not recommended for the kick-prone (think: younger boys.) We'll talk about this at the parent meeting on the 6th.

So far, I've been able to get two local stores to commit to offering a discount for team families:
  • Fleet Feet sports in downtown Pleasant Hill said they will offer at least a 10% discount to families. Mention that you're part of the CTK CYO track team. Their location has changed slightly -- they are behind Sweet Tomatoes restaurant, next to the Verizon wireless store on Contra Costa Blvd. Do not be like me and panic when you see their old empty storefront on Crescent Drive.
  • Road Runner sports in the Willows Shopping Center is offering a "team weekend" when you can come in and pick out a pair of shoes with a 10% discount (or 20% if you are "VIP member.") This is in the Concord store only, Feb 11/12, and requires that you bring in this flyer:

These offers apply to all parishes on our team, not just CTK runners.

Both Fleet Feet and Road Runner are "full service" shoe places, and can help you get a good fit for your athletes. You may purchase running shoes anywhere, of course, but these are two local options.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Welcome to the 2012 Season

I wanted to remind everyone about some upcoming dates and pass along other information.

The team web site is always your best source for information:

I'll also archive all these letters on the team "News" page:
First Practice on Thursday, Feb 2, 5:00-5:45pm at College Park High

Next Thursday, February 2 is our first practice, starting promptly at
5pm at the track at College Park High School. Our first few practices
are short due to the looming darkness: always check the schedule page
on the team web site to confirm practice times.

The front page of the web site and our Twitter feed (@ctktrack) will indicate if practice is canceled due to wet weather. I'll update by 4pm on practice days if the sky looks gloomy.

Athletes need to remember:
  • Bring a water bottle with your name on it. Reusable bottles are best: less garbage after practice.
  • Dress warmly! And label your clothing, too.
  • Go to the bathroom before you leave home: CPHS facilities are very limited.
  • Wait in the stands when you arrive. Walk AROUND the outside of the track to the stands.
  • Do not climb fences or gates or play on the hillsides. Cross-country starts in the fall if you like that sort of thing.
We have a great coaching staff this year, and I know they're eager to
get started. Parents are welcome to stay and watch, but please, sit in
the stands, and keep off the track and field areas during practice.

Anyone with outstanding paperwork or payments can get them to me at
practice. I'll make myself easy to find.

Pickup can be a little hectic: go slow in the parking lot, and please
come to the track to retrieve your loved ones and their belongings. We
promise to wear them out if you promise to come get them on time.

Parent Meeting on Monday, Feb 6, 6:45-8:00pm at Christ the King
Church Parish Hall

All new families are *strongly encouraged* to attend. Returning
families are welcome, too. Find out about shoes, practices, meets,
relays, ribbons, volunteer jobs, and anything else you can think of to
ask. No question is too strange! Bring your trickiest questions and
play Stump The Coordinator. Athletes will find this meeting
exceptionally boring, so you probably want to leave them at home.

Forms and volunteer sheets will be available at this meeting for late
signups. If your child has a friend that would like to try track,
bring along their parent. Our numbers are low this year, especially in
the St. Stephen and St. Catherine groups, and we always like being
able to build full relay teams for the qualifying meet.

For an athlete to be eligible they must:
  • Attend one of the parish schools OR
  •  Attend the RE program at one of the parishes OR
  •  Live within one of the three parish boundaries
It also helps if they like to run. :-)

Field Clinics

I've booked the track and field at College Park High School for two
special field-event practices. Usually this is an invitation for a
rainy weekend, but we're going to try for it anyway. The clinics are:

Sat Feb 18, 1:30-3:30pm
Sun Feb 26, 1:30-3:30pm

Athletes are welcome to attend one or both of these. This is a chance
to practice field events in a little looser environment than a regular
practice. Specific events are subject to which coaches I'm able to
bribe into attending.


Trish Heaney is the head coach this year: you'll also see her managing
the middle school girls and boys at practice. We are still looking for
someone who can dedicate themselves to acting as a primary coach for
the Intermediate level boys group (grades 4-5.)
We are covered for the
practices, don't worry, but if there's a parent among you who would be
interested, or thinks you may be interested, please let me know, and
I'll put you in touch with Trish. The ideal coach is someone who's
worked with kids before (soccer coaching, for example), who can help
athletes in a range of skill levels find their "niche" event, and who
realizes that personal improvements -- a faster time, a farther jump
-- are more important than finishing first.

Similarly, we could use someone with high jump experience.  If you
have a track & field past, and did high jump once upon a time, please
let me know. Or, if you have a high-schooler who does high jump (and
who needs community service time!) we would be willing to talk to
them, too. We would like them to come to a couple of practices, and
ideally to the field clinics.

Thanks everyone, and I'll see you at practice

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Practice Starts Soon

Second signups are over: the next scheduled signup night is during the parent's meeting on Monday February 6 starting at 6:45 in the CTK parish hall (adjacent to the main church parking lot: look for the signs.) See the team site page about signups and to run off a copy of the forms if you want to fill them out in advance.

Interested in coaching or being an assistant coach? We have a meeting this Thursday at 6:30pm at Christ the King school, room 222: the same room as signups. We're still looking for coaches to help out with the middle-grade (4-5-6) for both boys and girls. If you're interested, come join us at the meeting.

First practice is Thursday, February 2 at College Park High School in Pleasant Hill, starting promptly at 5pm. If the weather looks menacing, always check the team web site or our Twitter feed (we're @ctktrack) for updates. Practices are every Tuesday and Thursday, and we have a couple of special practices in later February that I'll talk about soon.

For practices:
  • Use the restroom at home. Facilities are very limited at CPHS track.
  • Bring a water bottle -- reusable, preferably -- with the athlete's name on it.
  • Dress warmly! Practice can be chilly, especially when the sun dips below the tree line. Wear a jacket or sweatshirt, sweatpants, even a hat. Dress in layers, and you'll be prepared.
  • Label everything! The coaches have their own warm clothes, we don't need yours. We'd like your workout clothes get back to their owners.
  • Be safe. Stay with your practice group, and listen to your coach and assistant coaches. Be careful crossing the track -- it's like crossing a busy street. Please do not climb on the fences and hillsides. We would like to be allowed to continue practicing at CPHS.
  • Do not run if you are hurt. This includes getting hurt while at practice.
When practice is over, parents should come to the track to pick up your athletes. We can't dismiss them or let them leave early without handing them over to a responsible adult. Stragglers will be walked up to the parking lot gate when we're doing cleaning up.

If you forgot to turn in paperwork at signups (birth certificate copy, concussion form) or owe the team your volunteer deposit or other fees, you can see me at the first few practices to handle it.

The very first practices may seem confusing or overwhelming to new families and athletes: don't worry. Everyone is a pro after about two or three practices. However, some kids are surprised to discover that there is a lot of running at track practice and meets, and maybe decide that this isn't the best sport for them after all. If this is the case, please let me know and I can start processing you as a "drop." Otherwise, you will lose your volunteer deposit and any hope of a refund.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Second Signups for 2012

Hello all, just a reminder that that our second signup is tomorrow at Christ the King school, room 222 (the 6th grade classroom) starting at 6:30 and ending at 8pm. If you missed last Thursday's signups, you can still enroll. The CTK Parish bulletin showed an additional signup on Thursday night: this is incorrect.

Our final enrollment will be Monday, February 6 from 6:45-8:00pm in the Christ the King Parish Hall at the parent meeting. (Naturally you were planning to attend that meeting anyway.)

I'm processing the paperwork from the first signup night, and will be contacting some families about missing or incomplete forms. Remember, for every athlete, we need to have:
  1. The two-page medical authorization form from the Diocese
  2. A new concussion information sheet signed by both a parent and athlete, also from the Diocese
  3. A copy of the athlete's birth certificate to be kept on file until they age out of the program
  4. A $70 enrollment fee, plus $10 if you need a new t-shirt
Each family also needs to complete a team form that lists the names of the athletes, parish, and shirt sizes, and leave a $50 check as a volunteer deposit.

There are still coaching jobs open, especially in the middle grades and the jumping field events (long jump and high jump.) If you're interested, there's an additional volunteer form for you, too. Please come to the coach's meeting on Thursday the 26th at 6:30pm in room 222 at CTK (same as signups.) We'll get you set up.

Looking forward to a great -- and hopefully dry -- season!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Signups Tomorrow

Remember: signups are tomorrow night, January 19 at 6:30pm at Christ the King School. Savvy parents come prepared with their forms already filled out: print off your own from the team website.

All new athletes must leave a copy of their birth certificate with the team.

Although we won't have a finished sample of the new sweatshirts, here's a virtual one:

Sweatshirts are going to be screen-printed on a gray pullover hoodie and are available in both youth and adult sizes. Now you can keep warm, look stylish, and show your team spirit at the same time. (Parents: these are good for those chilly meet mornings up in the stands, too.) Mark your size choices on the family signup form.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

2012 Signups and More

Hello everyone -- the 2012 season is coming. I've been making updates to the team web site: please be sure to let me know if any of your favorite information from the old site is missing. One of the immediate changes is a new team email address. All announcements and other details will now come from:

If you would like to be on the mailing list, please drop me a note at that address and I'll add you. As usual, I'll also build the list from the signup forms.


You can get a head start on the process by filling out the forms before you come to CTK. Signups are at Christ the King School (room 222) on Thursday, January 19 and Monday, January 23 from 6:30-8:00pm

Families need to fill out the following:
We'll have copies on hand if you leave something at home. Be sure to bring medical information and your calendar, too.

Fees for this year are:
  • $50 volunteer deposit per family, cashed only if you do not complete your volunteer obligations
  • $70 registration fee per athlete. Sorry, we don't offer sibling discounts
  • $10 if you need a t-shirt
  • $30 if you would like a team sweatshirt
The sweatshirts are an idea that we kicked around last season, as we shivered our way through the meets. It's very important that athletes stay warm at practices and meets -- and equally important for parents and coaches, too. If you're interested in a sweatshirt for your athlete(s) or yourself, just note the sizes on the family form. You can see the design on the main page of the team site.

If you're an experienced track family and can spare an adult to help answer questions at signups, please send me a note.


We are always looking for parents willing coach or be assistant coaches, and it sounds like we're especially pressed for staff this year. We need coaches!

If you like to run or have kid-wrangling skills, consider being a coach for one of our practice groups. Workouts are planned in advance and we've got veteran coaches on the team who can guide you. We also like expertise in our field events: primarily high jump, long jump, and shot put. (We rarely get a chance to practice softball throw due to the logistics of sharing our practice area.)

We are a recreational league, with an emphasis on personal achievement and progress and fun. The best thing you can offer any of the athletes is encouragement. We want to foster a love of running. We believe being able to shave a half-second off your best time or add an extra inch to your longest jump is more important than winning an event.

Coaches must fill out a Diocese volunteer application, and be fingerprinted (see below.) You must be able to make a good-faith effort to come to practices on Tuesday/Thursday evenings, starting at 5pm, and be able to attend the meets on Saturdays starting in March.

If you're interested, or returning as a coach, please put these dates on your calendar:
  • Team coach meeting on Thursday, January 26 at 6:30pm, CTK school room 222, the same place as signups
  • Primary coaches must attend the Diocese coach meeting in the CTK Parish Hall and be fingerprinted on Monday, March 12, registration starts at 6:30pm. Bring last year's badge if you have one.
Just tell anyone working at the signup night "I'd like to be a coach" and we'll get you set up. Signing up for a coach releases your family from registering for any meet jobs.

Practices and Meets

Practices start on Thursday, February 2 at College Park High School in Pleasant Hill, off Viking Drive. At the beginning of the season, practice starts at 5pm, and ends at 5:45.
  • Make sure your athletes dress warmly, bring water, and use the bathroom before they leave home. (Facilities at College Park are minimal.) Label everything with your athlete's name if you'd like it back.
  • The track area is located past the baseball field. Park in the large lot, and walk around the fence and down. Please do not climb over any fences, including the gate around the track. There is a gate next to the stands, honest.
  • Wait in the stands for practice to begin. We're a big team, and practice can seem a little confusing at first. Don't worry.
  • When practice ends, athletes must be picked up at the track by an adult. For safety, we cannot dismiss any athlete to go up to the lot alone. After we've cleaned up, all the coaches and myself will walk the stragglers up to the parking lot gate.
As we get more daylight, practices will go later, but never past 6:30pm. I'll update the web site and send email as times adjust towards spring.

Meets begin in March. They take place on Saturdays, starting with our "Mini-Meet" at College Park. Since we are a large team, we typically act as the host parish for other teams, meaning that the meets are usually local, but that we also are responsible for the majority of the jobs at the meet. I'll update the schedule when we know final locations. Meets typically start at 9am, and a full meet usually ends around 1:30 or 2:00pm