Sunday, February 22, 2015

Track news for the week of February 22

Practice this week, 5:00-6:00pm

We'll practice from 5:00 until 6:00pm this week. High school sports are starting up, so don't cross the track or field areas when you arrive. Please resist the urge to climb or jump hurdles, fences, bleachers, or each other while you wait for announcements. Our first aid kit is not that good.

Check @ctktrack on Twitter or the front page of the web site by 4pm on practice days if the forecast looks ominous.

The Golden (Track) Rule

The number one rule in CYO is the Golden Rule: treat others as you want to be treated.

This means being quiet during announcements, listening to the coaches during practice, and respecting all your teammates. Our practice groups are large, and track is very social, but there's never a good time to tease or belittle anyone else.

CYO publishes a code of conduct (PDF) that everyone is expected to read and follow. You can add "teammates" anywhere that you see the word "opponents."

Athletes: if you're having problems during practice, please tell your coach as it happens. They're in the best position to correct it, and to let me know the names of who was involved.

Anyone who finds that they cannot follow the Code of Conduct will be asked to leave the team, with their fees forfeited. That would be unfortunate, so please be kind.

Parent Meeting, Wednesday 6:30pm, CTK School Room 222

New families and forgetful returning families are encouraged to send an adult to the parent information meeting this coming Wednesday at Christ the King School in Pleasant Hill. Room 222 is the middle classroom on the right as you come down the driveway from the Gregory Lane parking lot, where we held signups.

I'll warn you now: it's me, droning on about meets and events, schedules and volunteering, awards, shoes, CYO philosophy, and fielding "stump Mr. Coordinator" questions from the room. Athletes may attend if they have no other options, but bring something quiet or homework-ish to amuse them.

League schedule soon

The first few meets of the season are getting scheduled now: when the powers-that-be let me know, I'll post them on our site.

There's a possibility that some meets may fall on Sunday afternoons. This is allowed by CYO, but not typically done in our section. Facility scheduling is forcing the league's hand here. Being in track means your flexibility and sense of humor gets a workout. Stay tuned!

Shoes & Uniforms

Is your athlete in a good pair of running shoes? No? Get their feet to Fleet Feet in Pleasant Hill, Athletic Outpost in Walnut Creek, or Road Runner in Concord and into a pair of running shoes. Athletes put a lot of distance on them at practices and meets. Track shoes ("spikes") are not necessary or required.

We don't have an official team uniform short or pant. If your athlete can still fit into one of their many pairs of leftover soccer shorts, those are fine. On cold meet mornings, a warm layer of running pants and a jacket or sweats should fit over everything. The shirt is the important piece.

I've placed the order with the printer, and pulled out the remaining sweatshirts from previous seasons. Once everything comes in, I'll send an announcement around.

Lost and Found

None yet! Unbelievable!

If your athlete is missing something, then it either didn't get left at practice, or was well-hidden.

Volunteer Training: March 9, 6:00pm-7:00pm at YVH

Something new this year: coach George Francis at Ygnacio Valley High is holding "Meet Officiating Training for Parent Volunteers" at the YVH track in two weeks.

In his words: "We will walk the track and visit each event, and present what you need to know for officiating each event." This sounds fantastic, as some of the events can be a little esoteric to run. It took me a few years to wrap my brain around how to score high jump.


Make sure these appear on your calendar somewhere:
  • Wednesday Feb 25: Family Meeting at CTK, 6:30pm (6:00pm for late signups)
  • Saturday March 7: War Path Invitational meet at Ygnacio Valley High, 9:00am
  • Monday March 9: Officiating training, 6:00pm at Ygnacio Valley High
  • Saturday March 14 or Sunday March 15: CYO meet #1, location and date TBA
Your first volunteer opportunity is CYO meet #1: make sure to email Gina to get scheduled if you know your weekend availability. If a shifting meet date disrupts your plans to help, let her know that, too.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Track news for the week of February 15

Hello families, it's time again for this week's news...

Practice this week: 5:00-5:55pm

Five more minutes of daylight is plenty of time for an extra lap! If we're sending the kids home tired, then we've done our job.

If rain is forecast, check @ctktrack on Twitter or the team web site for practice status.

Safety at College Park

Winter sports are ending at College Park, and spring sports are beginning. When you arrive at practice, please walk around the outside of track fence to get to the stands. Don't cut across the field during games or other teams' practices.

During lacrosse practice, we get to add obstacle-dodging to our list of skills. Please make sure your athletes keep their eyes open for the occasional missed pass.

Uniform Last Call

I need to get our order in for this season's uniforms and sweatshirts. This is your last call for size changes or for adding on anything to your order. I am ordering a limited number of extras for the inevitable size swaps.

Please check the team roster to make sure I have the sizes correct for your athlete:

Uniform shirts are required for meets, but not practices. Our first official meet is March 14, and we'll hand the uniforms out at practice once they come in.

Family Meeting February 25, CTK school, 6:30pm Room 222

If your family is new to CYO track this season -- or if you forgot everything from last year -- please try to send an adult to our family information session next Wednesday at Christ the King school in Pleasant Hill, room 222. This is the same room where we had signups. It's off the lower parking lot, on the right as you come down the drive from the upper lot.

I'll be there around 6:00pm for late signups and general questions. We'll come to order around 6:30, and I'll try to have you out in an hour or less. Details about meets, shoes, events, practices, ribbons... all shall be revealed.

Is there a doctor in the house?

Or a nurse, or any EMTs? Since we host most of the practice meets, we like to staff a first aid station with a trained volunteer. The majority of the issues are scrapes, muscle pulls and mild dehydration.

If you're in the medical field and available on Saturdays, please let Gina know about spending your meet volunteer shifts in the comfort of the first aid station. Her contact details are on the volunteers page:

Track not working out?

Hopefully things are starting to get a little smoother for your athletes. The first few practices can be chaotic until the groups settle in.

Sometimes track isn't a good fit, though, and that's OK. You may drop from the program with a full refund if you notify me via email by February 28. Your deposit check will be shredded, and we'll remove you from the volunteer sheets.

Starting March 1, the fees refund drops to 50%, with the deposit check shredded.

Dropping on or after our first meet on March 14 means a forfeit of both your fees and deposit.

Uniform costs are refunded at 100% or 50% as above, provided you haven't picked them up yet. Once handed to you, the uniforms and sweatshirts are yours to keep.

Don't just vanish. Let me know if you need to withdraw an athlete from the team so we can update our records and handle any refunds you're entitled to.

Upcoming Event: "War Path" Invitational, March 7

It's hard to believe, but we're halfway through February already. That means our first event is coming up.

Ygnacio Valley High School holds a special all-comers track meet each year to help raise funds for their track team and for new equipment. Provided we have good weather, we'll attend this meet as a team again this year. The team will pay the admission fee for our registered athletes and coaches.

I highly encourage everyone to come out if they can. It's a very low-key event, with no volunteer requirements. It gives everyone a chance to see how meets work. Think of it like a special Saturday practice.

We don't need our uniforms for this meet since it's not a CYO function. Regular running clothes are fine.

The flyer is on our web site:

I'll send more reminders as we get closer to the event.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Track news for the week of February 8

Hello again families -- here's your track news for the week.

Practices Tuesday and Thursday this week, 5:00-5:50pm

As long as the weather holds, practices will continue at College Park from 5:00pm until dusk. We pick up about 5 minutes of daylight each week, so we'll end at 5:50 pm this week.

Please continue to escort your athletes to the track before practice, and gather them up trackside at the end.

Weather Watch

If the forecast calls for rain, I post about the status of practice by 4:00pm on the team Twitter account (@ctktrack). Those tweets appear on the front page of our web site, too.

If you have doubts about my prognosticating powers, you're free to keep your athlete home from practice, but unless we're being doused in liquid sunshine, plan to run.

Sharing at College Park

Although we have permits for practice, the stadium belongs to College Park, and we sometimes need to wait patiently for high school games to complete, or will practice at the same time as other teams. College Park track team will be starting up soon, too, which include some CYO alums.

We aim to meet in the second section of the bleachers, leaving the end closest to the parking lot open for the high school team. Please be respectful as we wait our turn, and listen to the coach announcements.


Your athlete should wear running shoes to practice. They do not need track shoes -- "spikes" -- for practice, though that won't stop them from asking.

Area stores can help you get fitted properly -- try Fleet Feet in Pleasant Hill, Athletic Outpost in Walnut Creek, or Road Runner in Concord.

Fleet Feet and Athletic Output usually offer a discount if you mention you're buying for CYO. Road Runner has their own discount program for members.

Lost & Found

I'm pleased to say that lost and found is still empty after our first week of practice: a team record!

New Family Meeting

I'll be scheduling our annual family information meeting soon at Christ the King in Pleasant Hill. New families are encouraged to send an adult to attend, armed with questions.

Late Signups Still Accepted

I'll still take signups at practice, and at the family meeting, too. Please help spread the word about track to friends and classmates.

Meet Volunteers

We can conduct track meets only with the help of family volunteers. Gina Marks is our team's volunteer coordinator, and she'll be happy to pencil your family in for shifts during the season, or to change a date if you give her ample advance notice.

Did you join the team after signup nights? Chances are you need to contact Gina and sign up for some volunteer shifts.

Gina's email address in on the "Volunteers" page:

Meet-specific assignments will be posted online before the meet. Adult family members sign in at the meet to earn credit. We also take walk-up volunteers on meet days, to help fill in the inevitable gaps.

Families who go above and beyond the minimum requirement are entered into a prize raffle held at the picnic.

Families who fall short of the required amount both forfeit their deposit and risk disqualifying their athlete for the late-season championship meets. Don't do this! Meet jobs are not complicated, and will make the day pass quickly.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Track news for the week of February 1

Hello everyone, and welcome to the start of our 2015 season. There's a lot of start-of-season business here this week.

Late Signups & Missing Paperwork

We'll accept new signups for a while. Bring the paperwork listed on the signups page to practice and hand it to me, along with your checks. I'll be wearing a battered brown hat and wielding the Whistle of Power.

Adults must stay at practice until you have turned in a completed health release form for all participating athletes.

If you need to turn in a missing birth certificate or finish off your health forms, see me at practice.

Roster Check

I've posted a copy of the roster from the first two registration nights. Please take a moment and check:
  • Spelling of your athlete's name and adults' names
  • Your athlete's grade and gender
  • Uniform and sweatshirt sizes
The current roster is online here:

If your athlete prefers going by another name ("Katie" instead of "Katherine") let me know: this roster will be used for all ribbons and awards.

Parish assignments are done following CYO rules: if the athlete attends a parish school or religious education program, that is their parish. Otherwise, it's based on their home address. It is not based on which parish church your family attends if any, so (for example) you could attend services at Christ the King, but live in the St. Stephen's area.

All these assignments are taken from your registration forms. If I have something wrong, please email me!


Remember that we have all-new uniform shirts this year. If you did not order one, I made a "need" note on the roster. If I have questions about your order -- maybe you ordered double, or I can't tell sizing -- I have indicated that with a question mark. I'll go through and contact families where I have questions.

You do not need to wear uniforms at practice. Comfortable running clothes are all you'll require.

If you change your mind about uniform sizing, please let me know soon. I will put in the order in the next few weeks.

It's my experience that the youth sweatshirts tend to run a little snug -- I usually recommend ordering up a size. If you bought a sweatshirt and want to change the size, let me know that, too and I'll make the change.

Once uniforms arrive, we can swap new, unworn shirts for another size, provided we have spares on-hand. Once washed or worn, the shirts and sweats are your souvenirs to keep and cherish.

First practice Tuesday, Feb 3, 5pm
First practice starts at 5pm at College Park High School. Meet in the center section of the stands if they are open. Athletes should not play in the press box or run in the stands like crazed billy goats.

Late-signup athletes are welcome to join practice. Parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins, and general well-wishers need to stay off the track and infield areas.

Practices continue every Tuesday and Thursday, starting at 5pm and going until dusk.

All athletes!
  • Go to the bathroom at home:  facilities at College Park are limited
  • Bring a water bottle with your name on it
  • Wear running shoes (plain running shoes, not "spikes")
  • Dress for the weather: running pants or sweats and a jacket or sweatshirt -- be warm!
  • Listen to the coaches, and be ready to run and have fun
Returning athletes! 
  • Half the team is brand new this year: be friendly and introduce yourselves
  • Be on time to practice, and escort your athletes to the track
  • Label everything with your athlete's name: water bottles, jackets, pants, etc.
  • Dress for the weather if you're staying: the track is sometimes windy and cool
  • Be on time to pickup, if you're leaving. We should be all done by 5:45
The first few practices always seem a little chaotic and rushed, but they do settle down as we all get more experienced and enjoy more daylight.

Missing practice?

If you need to miss a practice here and there for some reason, we generally do not need to know. Life happens, and piano recitals, a big homework night, or a visit from Aunt Marge can take priority over track.

If you have to leave practice early, definitely let the coach know at practice. Adults must come to claim athletes in person. For their safety and ours, we can never dismiss athletes under their own supervision.

Rain, Lacrosse, and Other Acts of God

If the forecast calls for rain, I will post practice status to our team Twitter feed (@ctktrack) by 4pm. This should also appear on the front page of the team web site, if you do not have a 13-year-old handy to set up Twitter for you. Assume practice is happening unless Twitter or the web site says otherwise.

Sometimes College Park has sports that conflict with our practice times, like soccer or lacrosse games. If we know about them in advance, we'll get information out about it early and may make alternate practice plans.