Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Team updates: late signups, practice starts Tuesday Feb 3

Some quick updates for the next few days:

Late Signups

Missed signups? Bring the paperwork and two checks with you to practice. Requirements are on the team site's signups page:

I am putting together a roster and mailing list from those who have signed up the first two nights.

First practice Tuesday February 3, 5pm at College Park track

You may park in the large lot under the solar panels and then walk your athlete down to the track. There are stairs near the school-side corner of the lot, and a paved path leading along the side of the baseball field to the stadium. Athletes should resist the urge to run up and down the hillside and climb fences.

Please walk your athletes down to the track to avoid anyone wandering off. We are planning to meet in the stands as usual. Athletes need to stay off the track until instructed by a coach. Be safe! We're not the only team that uses this facility.

Practice ends at dusk, which is around 5:40-5:45pm right now. Parents are welcome to stay and watch from the stands or from the comfort of their vehicles. I will blow a whistle near the end of practice as your signal to be ready to take your darlings back home. If you position yourself near the water fountains, you have a good chance of catching your athlete as they ignore you in their pack of new track buddies.

If you have turned in all your completed paperwork, adults do not need to stay at practice, but do need to be back in time for pickup. Please don't make your athletes suffer the embarrassment of being the Last Kid Waiting with me and the coaches.

College Park is planning to do stadium construction this year: it's unclear if or when this will affect us. As with all CYO activities, we will flex and bend to accommodate. Stay tuned.

Being Prepared

Athletes should come to practice:
  • On time. We only practice until dusk, which comes fast at this time of year. I know that religious education goes until 5pm for some families (mine included.) It's fine if you need to be a bit late.
  • Dressed appropriately. It can be cold and windy at the track. Dress in layers, and label every piece of clothing. Our Lost & Found pile historically starts at first practice.
  • Have water to drink. A reusable sport bottle with plain water is the best drink, and the only beverage allowed on College Park's track and turf -- no sports drinks. Label the bottle, too!
  • Be wearing running shoes. A good pair of running shoes is your athlete's best friend. Flats, basketball shoes, and skate shoes (Vans) are not running shoes, and can lead to injury. Don't risk it!

    Local stores like Fleet Feet in Pleasant Hill, Road Runner in Concord, and Athletic Outpost in Walnut Creek can fit your athlete with a good pair of shoes, and will often give you a discount if you mention that you're buying them for CYO track.
Athletes never need track shoes ("spikes") at practice, and generally don't need them at all.

I'll talk about this more as we get closer to the meets, but a plain pair of non-weaponized running shoes is what we want to see at practice.

    Monday, January 26, 2015

    Signup night #2 on Tuesday, January 27

    If you missed signups last week, we have another signup night scheduled for Tuesday at 6pm at Christ the King School in Pleasant Hill, room 222 off the lower parking lot.
    Forms and fees are on our team site:
    If you missed some paperwork at the first signup -- like birth certificate copies! -- you may duck in and drop it off with our helpful, friendly cashiers.
    Remember that we have new uniforms this year, so come prepared knowing the T-shirt size of your athlete(s), in either youth or adult. Sweatshirts are the same as past years, and optional... but warm and cozy.
    Practice starts next week! Watch your email for announcements and other excitement, and mail to be added to the team mailing list.

    Tuesday, January 20, 2015

    Signup Night #1 this Thursday, January 22

    Just another reminder that our first signup night for the season is this Thursday, January 22 at Christ the King School in Pleasant Hill, room 222, off the lower parking lot. Doors open at 6:00pm.

    Forms and fees are set for this season and can be found on the Signups page on the team site. Save time by filling them out in advance! We need:
    • The diocese health release form per athlete
    • The diocese concussion information form per athlete
    • The team's family registration form
    • All new athletes need to leave a copy of their proof of age at registration: birth certificate, passport, or other official paperwork. A photocopy is fine.
    Remember that we have new uniform shirts this season, so please circle your athlete's shirt size on the form.

    Bring your calendar with you to signups to note the meets when you volunteer, planning around family vacations, school spring break, and any first communion activities.

    Can't make it this week? We have a second signup next week on Tuesday the 27th at the same time and place. Please help get the word out to friends, neighbors, and classmates!

    Wednesday, January 14, 2015

    Signup Night Reminder for 2015

    Signup Night Reminder

    Hello again families: just a reminder that our team signups start next week at Christ the King school in Pleasant Hill, in room 222:
    • Thursday, January 22 - 6:00-8:00pm
    • Tuesday, January 27 - 6:00-8:00pm
    The lower parking lot should be open, and the signups will be in the building to your right as you come down from the main lot.

    To be prepared, you should bring:
    • Completed health release and concussion information forms for each athlete
    • A team registration form, which I'm updating for 2015 and will put online soon
    • For all new athletes, you need to leave a copy of their birth certificate or other proof of age with us. A photocopy is fine. We do not have a copier at signups.
    • For all athletes: their T-shirt size for the uniform (youth or adult size)
    • Your checkbook for paying the registration fees, and for leaving a volunteer deposit
    • Your calendar for noting when you signed up to volunteer at meets
    If you're thinking about coaching, send me an email and also come bearing:
    Only coaches and assistant coaches need to complete this form.

    Blank forms will be available at signups if you forget, but we need to have all your paperwork and payments in to register your athlete(s).

    My name is Mike, I'll be working behind the main volunteer tables, answering questions. If you're new, stop by and say hello -- and be prepared to re-introduce yourself a few times, because I'm terrible with names.


    Remember that CYO track is open to all athletes regardless of religious affiliation, as long as they meet the age requirements (grades 2-8). If your athlete attends school or religious formation classes at one of our parishes, then that will be the team that they run for. This is a rule across all CYO sports.

    If your athlete is a "free agent," then their team is determined by their home address from the registration forms. I use this map from the diocese to make the parish determination:

    Search for your home address, and then click on the colored area of the map to see which parish you reside in. If it turns out that you're outside of the St. Catherine, Christ the King, or St. Stephen boundaries, feel free to send me an email and I can help put you in touch with the coordinator for your area team.

    With the exception of relay teams at the end of the season, the parish an athlete belongs to has no impact on their CYO track career.

    New Uniform Shirts for 2015

    Long-promised, we are going to retire the old T-shirts that have been our uniforms for at least the past decade, and are at last joining the era of performance fabrics. The new shirts are lighter weight than the old T's, which should help keep the athletes a little more comfortable on those sunny April meets.

    You can see the shirts on Amazon here:
    We're working on the designs now, and hope to have a mockup for signups. I plan to keep the red/navy/gold main color of the three parishes.

    A uniform shirt is required for all athletes participating in CYO meets.

    We also offer team sweatshirts, which might come in handy for those meets where it's not-so-sunny. Sweatshirts are not part of the official uniform, and are not required (but are very cozy.)

    Returning Families: Jobs for You!

    I have one family already helping out, but could use two additional veteran families to work signup nights. Yes, of course this counts towards your volunteer time...

    I'd like to start setup at 5:30, and be cleaned up and gone by 8:30. You'll either be tapped to be one of our Helpful Friendly Cashiers and Paperwork Gatherers, or positioned at the front door as our Super Greeter and Paperwork Hander-Outer. If you are able to help out both nights, including setup and cleanup, please send me an email. First come, first served. You must sign-in and -out to earn credit. Returning families only, please.

    There's also a new meet job this year. I'm reaching out to find a family with the magic combination of a truck or large vehicle and a willingness to stick out the meets to be our official tent wrangler for the season. We normally get assigned three pop-up tents, sandbags, and some bungee cords with our meet gear. I need a caretaker and hauler for the tents this year owing to devoting the backseat to my own rookie athlete.

    The wrangler will need to arrive at meet setup to unload the tents and stick around to the end of the day to haul them away again. You could even pair this up with meet setup and cleanup shifts and really burn through that volunteer time.

    If you have ever dreamed of being the official Bringer of Shade to a track meet, then this is your chance to realize that dream. Look for the new "tent wrangler" job on the volunteer sheets at signups.

    All Families: Jobs for You, too!

    We're always on the lookout for professional medical workers who can be stationed at the first aid tent during meets. Please let me know at signup night if you're able to give us some of your Saturdays in exchange for a trackside seat and the promise of administering ice packs and bandages. Our team first aid kit could also use a professional's eye, if you can look it over.

    All our meets are volunteer-run, and you'll be kept pretty busy during your volunteer shifts. If you have extenuating circumstances that would prevent you from helping out -- mobility issues, brand-new baby in tow, etc. -- please see me at signups and we'll see if there's some way you can help the team out.

    Tuesday, January 6, 2015

    Preseason 2015 News

    Hello everyone, and welcome to the 2015 season CYO track and field. Here's a look at the weeks ahead as we get ready to hit the track...

    Tentative Schedule

    I've posted the preliminary dates for the meets on our team web site:

    It's likely that we will be back at Ygnacio Valley High in Concord for at least a few meets this season. We had so much fun and such good weather at YVH last year for their pre-season meet that I'm planning to attend again. CYO meets officially start the week after: the YVH event is for fun.

    Please take into account family commitments like First Communions and Spring Break when looking at the meet calendar, and bring that information with you to signups...

    Save the Date: Signup Nights

    As in years past, we're setting up at Christ the King School room 222 for signups:
    • Thursday, January 22 - 6:00-8:00pm
    • Tuesday, January 27 - 6:00-8:00pm
    Fees and forms will be updated on the team site soon.

    You only need to attend one of the nights to register for the team, and we'll accept late registrations for a few weeks. Tell your friends!


    We are planning for practices every Tuesday and Thursday, from 5pm until dusk.

    Stadium construction at College Park High may disrupt us this year, forcing us to an alternate location. We'll do our best to keep an eye on the construction and warn everyone if we're unable to use CP. I hope any disruptions are minimal.

    As always, CYO means being patient and flexible, and keeping our senses of humor and perspective.

    Our first practice is Tuesday, February 3 at 5:00pm, hopefully(!) at College Park. Stay tuned.

    Like to Run?

    Did you resolve to run more in 2015? Do you have a good, loud mom-or-dad voice? Have you considered coaching?

    CYO is volunteer-operated, and we are always on the lookout for parents who can commit to working one or both practices a week, plus helping out at meets.

    Coaches attend a mandatory CYO certification meeting, complete a safe-environment course, and are fingerprinted through the diocese.

    If you are interested in coaching, please see me at signup night and plan to attend our meeting:
    • Coach meeting, Wednesday January 28, 6:00pm at CTK school room 222
    This is the same room as the signups, the day after the second session. Coaches are generally assigned to a practice group, and we divide up the team into groups based on the overall athlete breakdown and the amount of help we have.

    Being a coach or assistant coach fulfills your family's volunteer requirements for the team, entitles you to some cool team swag, and puts you in the company of some of the nicest people I know.

    Track and field experience is not required, but always welcome. The most important skills you can bring are a willingness to run and teach others to run, a positive attitude, and to enjoy kids being kids.