The stress! We can feel the tention at home, the excitement. All these emotions, and the match is still a few days away. For Alan it does not matter. His spirit is up! High up, his thoughts are of victory. He is focused on only one thing. Every night we train football. Every visit to the park we need to bring a football. Every visit to a park with an area with grass we need to take Alan’s special football shoes. On wednesday is his first official match with his new team ‘Formento’ against another team!
He is sooooo excited, it look like it is a contagious feeling. We are all cheering for him of course. We all hope Alan’s team will win, but if for some weird reason this is not the case, that for sure we will be able to find some outside reason. A bad field, the ball was too soft, foul play by the other team, maybe missing a star player?
The soccer gene is completely lacking in my. Father Kees and mother Nel were both soccer trainers with various youth teams at VVSB (The local team from Noordwijkerhout). My brother Bert was also a player. I was sometimes forces to visit the games and watch, but I prefered to spend my time picking grass for my rabbits. The game was not interesting to me, and I still don’t care for it.
Well, the gene is back! Alan has a love for the game that amazes me. Alan is part of the Las Palmas youth team of ‘Atleti Formento‘. Now, every night we play a game of soccer in the hall (with a soft ball), every visit to the park he spends playing football with the kids there, every weekend we go to the park what Alan tries out his new soccer shoes. Once a week he goes to training.
We are taking a short break and we’ll be going to la Gomera for a couple of days. We leave by plane on tuesday and return home on thursday. A short trip but very welcome to break up our daily routine.
We will be going with a few friends and at la Gomera we rented a big car for 7 people where we can all just fit. In addition to a big car we also rented a big house, hopefully with a garden so we can maybe even have a bbq! It will be quite the adventure. Of course there is also a big celebration! It is Alan’s birthday, so there will be a great party.
I will become a coach. The date we have to focus on is Saturday the 19th. The event is the Kids Race 2022, in Maspalomas. Alex and Alan will have to perform then. Alan will run 300 meters, and Alex needs to cover 1000 meters. The kids have developed some nasty habits for the weekends where they quickly get bored, and often the situation deteriorates rapidly into fighting. I hope to change this behaviour by focussing on something physical in the mornings. We will do a couple of training sessions, just like the real deal.
Usually we go to these running events without any preparation. The distances are so small that the kids can easily run them, and just participating is much more important than actually winning. This time I want to try and get a good result. Finish in the top 10. We need to approach this professionally. Evaluate the distance. Find out a good speed. See how much sprinting they can do. We have two weekends to prepare and train. If we go on Saterday and Sunday we have 4 sessions available. If they both try their distance twice it should be more than enough preparation. If they train in the morning they don’t even need to change their weekend routines (hopefully with less fighting).
Warming up. Walk to Romano (the track), do some jumping, some stretching, maybe a few push ups.
Review the track. Walk the entire distance, and discuss the optimal approach to running the distance in a good/easy/fast way.
Alan: 300 meters. First a small candy for some extra energy. Start running normally the first 220 meters, and finish with 80 meters superfast. Drink water and relax/rest. Do this twice! I will measure the time.
Alex: 1000 meters. First a small candy for some extra energy. Start running normally the first 300 meters, then slow down a bit for 300 meters to regain strength, then another 300 meters normally and finish with 100 meters superfast. Drink water and relax/rest. Do this twice! I will measure the time.
Cooling down, a few jumps, stretch, discuss results, walk back home.
The results really are not so important. If the kids have a good time that is the only important thing. The preparation is more meant to stimulate the kids and to prepare them a bit. If they reach their goal of finishing with the first 10, well, thats great! It will boost their self-esteem, which is great. If they just finish that is also great. They will have prepared for something, and gave if their best try. This is also something to feel good about.
At work we are around 100 people all occupying a giant office. When it is someones birthday usually the person celebrating his/her birthday will bring a big amount of candy. This candy is placed in the kitchen, and everybody who passes by just takes what they like. Usually the birthday is accompanied by an email send to everyone in the office telling everybody there is candy. This ritual happens quite a lot, on average around twice a week.
This year I send a creative email.
Subject: Here we go again!
Another day, another year. The hands of the clock that mark our place in eternity keep ticking without pauze. Minutes become hours, which turn into days and years. Today, once again the inevitable has occurred and my natal day has arrived. To celebrate I am following the uncoerced tradition set by so many of my esteemed colleagues; I brought a sugary treat for you all to indulge. Please feel free to release your inhibitions, take what your heart desires and enjoy the sweetness!
Naturally I don’t want to exclude anyone from this celebration and I know some of you are still in the process of perfecting your mastery of English vocabulary, so in order to be sure this messages reaches all of you in good order I will add a Spanish translation which should cover most, if not all of the emotions I am trying to convey with this email.
Alan is just five years old, but that is enough to have some very clear ideas. He also has a bigger brother that serves as a perfect example. When Alex takes flight with a paraglider, it is clear that Alan will do exactly the same. Alan flew up to over a kilometer high, passing right through the clouds. Then flew around for a while checking out the scenery and went back down to earth for a very smooth landing.
Preparation, equipment check, double check, patiently waiting for a breeze, take-off, flight, journey into the clouds and, very important, the landing were anxiously watched by Alan’s parents, but Alan also had some very special attention! The instructors daughter (already an experienced para-glider herself), who made sure everything was okay and Alan was in good hands :).
After Alan’s journey he told us he had a great time, but once his flight outfit was removed he almost ran to a nearby almond tree to pick some Almonds. It made me suspect that Alan was still a bit to young to realize the value of this experience. Something which was clearly different with his bigger brother.
Alan’s flight resulted in a great experience for him, and some great photos and videos for us. If you want to float across the valley on El Hierro you can do it with Ondrej from Fly El Hierro. A massively experienced professional who provided a great experience. Highly recommended when jumping with kids!
Alex is only 10 years but that did not stop him from conquering his fears and making a big jump. We are so proud of him and he had a really good time. As a preparation we first went to just look at the whole process. Everything involved from preparation, gearing up, checking and double checking everything. Getting ready, patiently waiting for a good breeze, take-off, flight and, very important, the landing at the end.
The first day we only observed. Alex had started out a bit anxious, but quickly became more and more confident as we got to know the instructor a bit and familiarized ourselves with the routine involved. The next day Alex was the first who wanted to go. He took off to the skies and went up to over a kilometer high! He dived into the clouds, and got to handle and turn the para-glider. After a bit of sightseeing from the sky he went back down for a smooth landing. After Alex showed the way his little brother Alan also ventured into the skies.
Alex was very happy with his jump. His instructor told us that Alex was really enjoying himself up in the air. It was a great and valuable experience for Alex, and together with the preparation we did a day earlier it is easily the best experience Alex had during his holiday this year. He has really grown because of this experience. Adapting to a new situation by first observing, gaining trust, and shedding unjustified fear is a lesson that can prove valuable for the rest of his life. For Alex it easily won over his other experiences like the boat trips, Loro park, Siam park, the encounter with an octopus, the watering of lizards, various swimming pools, forest walks, the bbq, etc.
Alex is already planning his next flight. The next time he wants to do something special. Solve a Rubiks cube while up in the air! We are still evaluating if this is something we are confident with. Alex’s instructor Ondrej on El Hierro is literary one of the best para-glider in the world, but paragliding is still an inherently dangerous sport (hanging in the sky at a huge altitude with nothing but a couple of strings connected to a big sheet == clearly dangerous, even if the instructor is packing a backup parachute), so we need to see if this is something we want to repeat closer to home.
Alex’ flight resulted in a great experience for him, and some great photos and videos for us. If you want to float across the valley on El Hierro you can do it with Ondrej from Fly El Hierro. A massively experienced professional who provided a great experience. Highly recommended when jumping with kids!