Sunday, February 24, 2013

Track news for the week of February 24

Lots of items this week...
  • Practices and weather
Remember to check the team web site ( or Twitter (@ctktrack) by 4:00pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays to see if practice is canceled due to weather. Always dress appropriately, taking into account the extra chill in the air down at the College Park track and bleachers.

This week, practices run from 5:00-6:00pm. Please stay off the track while the high school is finishing up, and never jump the hurdles. Neither our first aid kit nor the team coordinator is prepared to deal with hurdle-related accidents.
  • Coach certification this Thursday, Feb 28th
Coaches, assistants, and yours truly must attend the certification meeting this Thursday at the CTK parish hall. Sign ins begin at 6:30pm, meeting starts at 7:00pm sharp. Bring photo id and your safe environment training certificate.

PARENTS: please help us make our meeting on time by being extra-prompt at pickup this Thursday! We have to stay until all athletes leave practice in the care of an adult, so the sooner they go, the sooner we can go. Thanks.
  • Paperwork nagging
Remember that I need the full complement of paperwork in our team files for every child on the track. Those are:
  1. The diocese health release
  2. The concussion form
  3. The family info form with shirt sizes and parish
  4. And a copy of each athlete's birth certificate. 
Without all of these, an athlete is not considered fully registered, and cannot participate in practices or meets.
  • "Practice only" athletes
If you know for certain that your athlete is not going to run in meets this year due to conflicts, please let me know if I should mark them as "practice only" on our rosters and remove your family from the volunteer sheets. "Practice only" athletes may not participate in any meet, not even the Mini-Meet.

I still need all paperwork and the registration fee for these athletes: our team pays league fees per athlete whether or not they run in meets. Practice-only athletes do not need a uniform.
  • Meet schedules expected soon
All the coordinators in our section were asked to turn in our team counts this week, which is the first step to getting the league schedules settled. Watch the schedule page for updates on our team's meet locations:
  • Volunteer schedules soon after that
Once we know the when-and-where of the meets, I'm going to try to block out our meet assignments in advance. I will do my best to honor the job requests that everyone made on the signup sheets. Everything will be published on the web site, and you'll be notified by our super-helpful volunteer reminders before your scheduled meets.

Assignments look thin in the last few meets of the season: please keep in mind our prize drawing for super helpful families who work more than the minimum number of shifts.
  • Help wanted
There are still a couple of essential jobs that I need to fill this season:
    • Volunteer check-in for the relay meet, April 6
    • I need someone who can arrive with the setup crew on April 6, and stay at the signup table to check in our team's setup crew and first shift. You'll return to the table to check in the second shift and cleanup crews for the relay meet and then be done for the day. Nice!
    • "Picnic Boss"
    • I'm already looking ahead to the end-of-season awards picnic/potluck/extravaganza, and need someone who can be our "picnic boss" for the day. This is largely a shopping-and-hauling-and-decorating job, ideal for someone with a large vehicle, a strong back, and a membership to a local warehouse club. If you're interested, let me know and I'll provide details.
    • Other key meet jobs
    • As hosts, it's always a good thing for us to cover the essential jobs at a meet, like starter, announcer, etc.. We've had some great people handle these jobs in years past, but their kids had the nerve to age out of the program and go on to high school! I'm always on the lookout for families who plan to stick with CYO for a while and can help out here.
  • "How a meet works" and other light reading
If you're new to track, pour yourself a strong cup of coffee and go through the "How a meet works," "Meet jobs," and "Meet tips" pages on the site:

Most of the jobs at a track meet can be learned in about five minutes, and you'll be an expert after one shift. Working a job makes meets go much faster, and the finish-line area jobs mean you'll have the best possible view of the finish line.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Track news for the week of February 17

  • Miss the parent meeting?
If you weren't able to make it to the information meeting this past Monday, you can read up on the "Parent Info" page:

I'll include more details about meets and events in weeks to come.
  • Field event practice, Sunday Feb 17th at 1:30pm
Our optional field event clinic is Sunday afternoon from 1:30-3:30 at College Park. We'll try to do all four of our field events -- softball throw, shot put, long jump, and high jump -- plus get in some relay practice. Dress for the weather, bring water, and we'll see you there.
  • Lost and Found
I brought armfuls of clothing home after our practices this week: some of it probably belongs to the high schoolers, but some was definitely left behind by our older kids on the trail run. Please make sure your athletes' names are in a findable place on their belongings so they can be reunited:
  • Uniforms and sweatshirts
I've placed the order with our printer for the t-shirts and sweats. I have a few extras coming in case you signed up late.

I expect them to arrive later in the month, and then they'll be passed along to our super-sorting crew and handed out at practice. It would be a very good idea to put your athletes' name to their brand new sweatshirt before it gets left behind.
  • "Bonus" athletes
Please make sure to register all your athletes running with us; we have some siblings and other unexpected kids joining us during practice. This is fine if they're trying it out, but let me know their names and grades so I can pass this along to the coaches.

In case of a medical emergency I have health release forms for every athlete at every CYO event. Accidents happen, and the diocese and our insurance company would be much happier if everyone on the track is accounted for. (This is the same reason we have to keep parents in the stands, by the way.)
  • Adds/Drops
If you've got friends or relations who would like to join track, you still have time: have them get in touch with me and I'll handle the rest.

If track isn't working out for your family, you have until March 1 to drop with a full refund. If we pass out uniforms before that date, then I'll deduct their cost from your refund.

Don't just disappear! I need to hear from you if you intend to drop so I can issue the check and weave my paperwork magic.
  • Volunteer Shifts
I've gone through the signup sheets from the parent's night and keyed in changes to the volunteer assignments. The updated counts are on a big report on the web site:

If you see an angry red number in the "Total Shifts" column, this may mean that you haven't signed up to volunteer yet, or that you've fallen short of the five-shifts-plus-one that we need, or (in a couple of cases) you're working First Aid or as a Volunteer Reminder and I don't have specific dates down for you.

Please let me know which meets and shifts you will be able to work via email: it can be as simple as "Please sign up the Smith family to work second shift for the meets on March 16 and 23, and April 13." I'll make the changes in my master list. Although you have the whole season to make up any shortfalls, everything runs smoother if we can get you scheduled in advance.

Remember to account for other sport obligations, spring break, and first communion activities when you're making your plans.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Track News for the week of February 10

Hello again everyone, here's your team news of the week.

  • Family meeting Feb 11, 6:45pm, CTK parish hall

If you're new to track, you're especially encouraged to come to the family meeting at Christ the King on Monday evening. We'll come to order around 6:45 and try to be out in an hour. It's optional, but a great chance to corner me or the coaches and ask questions.

If you have signup paperwork, payments for uniforms, or need to round out your volunteer shifts, you may bring that with you and drop it off.

We're also taking late signups, if you have friends or relations with eligible athletes -- grades 2-8, living in our team areas or attending school/RE in our parishes.
  • College Park
College Park has a new head track coach -- a former CYO coordinator and our current data-entry wizard for all our meet results, Gil Llacuna, Jr.. You'll notice  high school athletes practicing on the track soon: please be courteous and stay off the track and wait in the middle of the stands, away from the high schoolers' gear.

One of Gil's first tasks is cleaning up the shot put ring. If we have any team families with strong backs who can donate time to pulling weeds and shoveling new dirt into the ring, please get in touch. I'll count it as bonus volunteer time for the team, and it will help forge good CP/CYO relations.

Gil's also looking to round out his coaching staff, if you happen to know of anyone who would like a paid position working with high school athletes. Send me an email and I'll put you in touch with Gil.
  • Practices

We'll continue to chase the sun (and duck the rain) for practice. Check Twitter or the web site for weather-related cancellations, and to get the end time for the day's practice.

Remember that athletes are supposed to be under adult supervision all the way down to the track -- sometimes they forget to stay on the paved path and go wandering over the hillsides like the Billy Goats Gruff. Please take a few minutes to herd your goats down from the parking lot to practice.

Also, always go around the outside of the track to get to/from practice. I know the large gate is tempting to cut through -- or hop over -- but don't do it. All sorts of other teams are using the facility, and we need to be courteous and safe. Absolutely no CYO athlete should be on the track or field when the high school is practicing, and should never try to jump the hurdles.

At the end of practice, adults need to come down to the track to pick up your darlings. We can't let them wander off unsupervised. The stands and the area outside the track fence are plenty roomy for everyone, and you might just spot a dropped jacket or water bottle...

  • Lost and Found

As soon as practice starts, things get left behind. Please make sure your athletes have their names on their water bottles and every piece of clothing that comes with them to the track. We already have our first item in the team lost and found, and I know it won't be the last:

I try to bring Lost & Found with me to practices until the pile gets out of hand, then the unclaimed items live on my porch until the picnic, where they either get reunited with their owners, find new homes, or become part of our annual team donation to Goodwill.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Unforms final check

I'm gathering up the uniform order for the printer: please take a moment to find your athlete(s) name on this sheet and make sure it agrees with what you expect.

Athletes not ordering a shirt or sweatshirt do not appear on this list.

If you have a change in size, please let me know right away so I can update my list.

Athletes must have a team shirt from the correct parish for the meets: there are some new athletes who have not ordered one. I will make an educated guess about size if I don't hear back (these are marked on the list.)

Sweatshirts are optional. If you intend to order one and the name is not on that list, I need to know right away.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Track News for the week of February 3, 2013

Hello everyone, and welcome to the semi-regular track newsletter. There will be a lot of information as the season gets started: future installments will be shorter, I promise!
  • Missing emails?
If you're not seeing regular email from me, you may be one of the few families that didn't supply an address on your forms. All the emails are archived on our team's news blog:

Click "News" on the team site to take you there.
  • Practice begins this week at College Park: Tuesday, Feb 5 from 5-5:45pm
College Park is supposed to be installing safety nets around the football field this week, so the stadium is temporarily closed. We'll still hold practice in some form, though. Look for the coaches or myself to guide you. A little inconvenience now means not dodging lacrosse balls later.

Practice times will gradually lengthen as we get more daylight. Always check the schedule page on the web site for the latest details: 

If you're new to track, there's a couple of things to remember for practice:
  1. Dress warm!
  2. Label everything with the athlete's name
  3. Hydrate! Bring -- and drink -- water, preferably from a re-usable sport bottle of some kind
  4. Go to the bathroom at home: facilities are very limited at College Park
This is all spelled out in detail on the "Practices" web page:
  • Late signups/missing paperwork
I'll still accept signups for a couple weeks: you can speed the process along by bringing me a completed set of forms off the web site, plus a check for fees and another check for your deposit:

If your athlete is dropping, just let me know by email. I have not yet cashed any checks, and will shred them if you're leaving the program.

I wear a brown cowboy hat to most track events,  so I'm fairly easy to pick out of a crowd. I love questions.
  • Uniforms
If you need to change the size of the team shirt or sweatshirt, or want to add something to your order, tell me right away. I'm planning on placing our uniform order with the printer this week. Once shirts and sweats have been handed out, they're yours and cannot be refunded.

You do not need to wear uniforms to practice (though some do.) The t-shirt is only required at meets. The sweatshirt is just a keen fashion statement. Athletes need to dress warmly at practice, in whatever clothes are comfortable for working out. Parents waiting in the stands should dress doubly warm.
  • Volunteer shifts
I've keyed in all the volunteer sheets from the signup nights: a summary and more details about volunteering is on the team site:

Please make sure that this agrees with your calendars, and notify me of changes.

If you're "Allen Brezac" or know this person, could you contact me? This person signed up for two shifts on April 20, but I don't know which family to credit. Thanks.
  • Weather watch
If the skies look ominous, I'll make a weather determination by about 4:00pm that day and post it to Twitter (@ctktrack). Through the magic of technology, this also appears on the front page of the team web site in the upper left corner: 

I can't promise that we'll stay perfectly dry all the time, but we do our best. A little drizzle won't stop practice, but a torrential downpour will. The surface of the track is all-weather, even if the coaches and myself are not.

Thanks for reading this far, and we'll see you at practice.