Monday, September 29, 2014

Three Year Anniversary


  The summer went so fast, I didn't even realize we were approaching Sabrina's Crossing's third anniversary. It came and went quietly, without even a nod.

  Admittedly, I haven't been as in-tune to my blog as I was in its first two years, but I am working to keep it part of my daily/weekly life.

  So here we are, 245+ posts later. I wanted to highlight some of my highlights: the posts that have been the most well-received by you, the reader, and the posts I am most proud of writing.

  Take a look!

Top blogs (five of my top most-viewed posts):
  1. "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't -- you're right" -- Our self talk.
  2. Nike Fuelband Review -- A summary of Nike's Fuelband.
  3. Children in Crisis: Kids & Our Food System -- How US advertisers target children.
  4. M&M Analysis: Altered Recipes in Europe Remove GMO -- Changing recipes and labeling food. 
  5. Running Down A Dream: Cope's Journey to the NBA -- My friend's, Chris Copeland, road to the NBA.
My personal favorites:
  1. Allow Me to Introduce Myself -- My first blog ever. 
  2. Little Eyes Upon You -- Being a role model. A reminder that kids look up to us!
  3. Following Your Passion -- How a shy, homebody became a professional basketball player in Europe.
  4. Italy: My Rookie Year -- Bumps and bruises during my first year as a pro.
  5. Do You Know What GMOs Are? -- Introducing GMOs to my readers.
  6. Love for Luleå -- Why the Frozen Tundra is a pretty cool place.
  7. My First French Carnival -- The pride of Dunkerque on display.
  8. No Redos, No Regrets -- My last game as a Colorado Buffalo.
  9. From Rookie to Veteran -- My growth as a person and as a player from year 1 to year 10.
  10. The Walk to End Alzheimer's -- The first year of Papa's Team, and why I wanted to get involved with Walk.
  It's fun to go back and re-read some of the stories I've shared with you all, and always fun to reminisce. 

  As I mentioned above, I'm still working to keep my blog relevant in my life as a non-basketball player -- always a work in progress. 

  Thanks, always, for reading, and for holding me accountable!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Walk to End Alzheimer's Recap -- Year 2

Walk day with Papa's Team.

  Two Sundays ago -- Grandparents Day -- the Portland Alzheimer's Association hosted their annual Walk to End Alzheimer's.

  As you may know, for the second straight year, I organized a team in memory of Papa -- my grandpa -- who we lost in 2009 to Alzheimer's after a 12 year bout.

Papa's Team, By the Numbers
  Thanks to you, Papa's Team raised $660.00. We landed a couple bucks short of last years numbers, but all in all I think we did a great job fundraising for a worthy cause.

  We had 14 total donors, many of whom were repeat donors from last year's team -- I can't thank you enough for showing an interest, contributing money, and helping out!

  Money raised from the Walk goes directly to funding care and support services, along with research efforts by the Alzheimer's Association.

Post-walk treats -- Mom and Nana.
Walk 2014
  Walk day participants for Papa's Team were down to three -- me, my mom, and Nana. But over the last several years of Papa's life, I remember many a-day spent -- the three of us and Papa. So it kind of seemed right to be with my mom and Nana on this day, remembering Papa.

  This year's walk was very similar to the year prior, even down to the hot, sunny afternoon on the race track. The Portland Chapter does a great job of making Walk more than just a 2+ mile walk around a race track. There's music, a car show, a kids' playhouse and food.

Purple flower for Papa.
  It's an afternoon event that an entire family can enjoy as they're raising awareness and money for those affected by Alzheimer's.

  What stood out again to me this year, as it did last, was the Promise Garden. Depending on how Alzheimer's has impacted your life, you're given a corresponding colored flower pinwheel:
  • Blue represents someone with Alzheimer's or dementia.
  • Purple is for someone who has lost a loved one to the disease.
  • Yellow represents someone who is currently supporting or caring for someone with Alzheimer’s. 
  • Orange is for everyone who supports the cause and vision of a world without Alzheimer’s.
  As walkers neared the finish line, we were allowed to 'plant' our flower. The garden that resulted from all the flowers makes for a very memorable image, representing the reach Alzheimer's has.

Portland Walk By the Numbers (all unofficial, as things are still being counted)
  • Total Raised: $270,836.25
  • Total Teams: 341 
  • Total Walkers: 3,688
Pre-walk festivities.
Get Ready for Next Year
  As I promised last September, I hope to continue to make Papa's Team a yearly presence in Portland's Walk to End Alzheimer's. So mark your calendars!

  Many of our families have been affected by Alzheimer's in some way, so I'm happy to be able to raise awareness for the disease, and for the Alzheimer's Association. 

  And again, I'm so grateful for everyone who contributed, and helped me honor Papa in a small way.

  Thank you!
LINKS:



Mom and I on the racetrack.



Sunday, August 31, 2014

Walk to End Alzheimer's Countdown


  T-minus one week and counting until the Walk to End Alzheimer's kicks off at Portland International Raceway on Sunday, September 7th.

  I know everyone's wallets have been opened this summer with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. If you haven't yet put those wallets away, Papa's Team -- my family's team in memory of my grandpa, who we lost to Alzheimer's in 2009 -- would love your participation or your donation.

  As a quick reminder, The Alzheimer's Association's Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the nation’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. It's held annually in more than 600 communities across the US.

  When you donate to the Walk to End Alzheimer's, your fundraising dollars directly fuel the Alzheimer's Association's mission-related initiatives of care, support and research. Their mission is: to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.


Walk Day Schedule -- September 7th 2014
Registration: 12-2 
Live Music: 12:30-3:15 
Promise Garden Pick-Up/Decorating: 12-2 
Team Photos: 12-2 
Bus Rally/Voting: 12-2 
Car Show/Voting: 12-2 
Panorama Photo: 1:30 
Opening Ceremony: 1:45 
Bus Rally Winner: 2 
Walk Start: 2 
Car Show Winner: 2 
Route Length: 2.99 miles

  ***Between now and Saturday night -- September 6th, I will match all donations made by 'Social Media Friends' (People I've reached through social media...Mom, you don't count).*** 

  Donate to Papa's Team, or if you'd like to join us on Sunday, register for the walk by clicking on the links -- walking is free!

  Alzheimer's is a far-reaching disease that does not discriminate -- help us try to put an end to the 'long goodbyes' and see the Alzheimer's Association's vision: a world without Alzheimer's disease.
LINKS:

RELATED POSTS:

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hood to Coast: Perspectives from Van 2

The whole squad at the finish. 
 
  From the mountains to the beach. Mt. Hood to Seaside. Hood to Coast 2014.

  They call it the Mother of All Relays for good reason: 197 miles. 12 runners. 2 vans. Little, to no sleep.

  Sounds potentially awful, doesn't it?

  In actuality, it was one of the most memorable team experiences I've ever had.

  The 33rd rendition of Hood to Coast was one I was finally able to participate in.

  As a driver.

  The Brownstars -- a team from Nike asked if I could drive one of their two vans for the race. I, of course, said yes.

We took a detour to get out of traffic to Clatskanie -- 
that turned out to be a time-saving move.
  People thought I was crazy for volunteering, but I've always been a sucker for a team -- especially ones committed to accomplishing uncommon things.

  Even when it's with teammates I'd never met.

  A lot happened in the span of those 24 hours, but it went surprisingly fast (officially, we finished in just under 24 hours).

  Maybe it was because my teammates were awesome runners --  some clocking in paces of 5:40 and 6:00 miles.

  They knew their bodies, knew how and when they needed to be fueled, and how hard they could push themselves. And they cheered their teammates til the end.

  So what, you ask, could be so great about staying up all night, while you wait for people you barely know, run from Mt. Hood to Seaside?

Van 1 at the start -- Mt. Hood.
  For one, being part of a team working as a group towards a huge goal is awesome.

  In those situations, every person needs to do his/her job to allow the team to succeed. Those are the things I've always loved -- and one reason why basketball was always so fun to me -- you needed every teammate on their game to make great things happen.

  And those are the experiences that make us, as individuals, better.

  Secondly, you're accomplishing things you would never dream of doing alone. Each individual running three different times, for a total of roughly 17 miles, in the span of 20 hours -- on no sleep -- who does that? Not something your average Joe is willing to do.

Van 2 -- making a pit stop.
  But surround them by like-minded, motivated teammates, and they'll put themselves on the line, and push through tired legs and injury to run their fastest pace ever -- even on their third run of the day.

  It was being surrounded by people, who, when we were stuck in miles of traffic, offered to hop out of the van and run twice the distance their scheduled leg called for.

  Those same people, readying towels and water for teammates as they came in from midday (read: hot) runs.

  It was seeing another teammate run the toughest leg of the relay -- through brutally hilly, dusty (gravel) roads, in the dark of night (or 5am) -- even when they were coming off a stress fracture and hadn't trained.

  Those were my teammates, and that's what made it special.

The 197 mile course.
For those wondering about specifics, here's how Hood to Coast worked: Van 1, with six runners, started at Timberline Lodge (Mt. Hood). Each team member ran one leg of varying lengths (ranging from 4 to 7 miles).

  At the end of leg six, near Sandy, Oregon, Van 2 entered the fray. The six runners in Van 2 then took to the roads to log their legs, while Van 2 had several hours to make their way to the next van exchange.

  Since we were still near Portland, many vans chose to go someplace (someone's home, a hotel, etc) where runners could clean up, and if they were lucky, take a little nap.

Van exchange 2 -- at the Hawthorne Bridge along the Willamette river.
  The second van exchange was under the Hawthorne Bridge on Portland's Eastside, where Van 1 reclaimed the reins, and Van 2 was free to clean up and get some rest.

  There were five van exchanges over the course of the 197 miles, and at the end of the 36th leg, everyone was united at the beach in Seaside.

  My teammates talked about how lonely it was while running their first leg. It was dark, quiet (no headphones allowed), and since we started fairly late in the day, there weren't many other teams around. As the race progressed, and we caught up to slower teams, it got more and more crowded along the route, and loneliness was no longer a concern.

Awaiting one runner to come in and pass
the baton (slap bracelet) off to another runner.
  The one downside that was widespread: traffic. As I mentioned before, we had a couple runners who had to log significantly longer runs than they initially were scheduled for.

  As vans piled up at exchange points (for miles), the runners would pass the van up as we sat idling.

  In order to keep the team on pace, the 'on-deck' runners jumped out of the van, finished the leg with their teammate, then took over the baton as they both crossed into the exchange. Then, in turn, the runner who just finished their leg would turn back and run towards the van until meeting it.

  After van exchange four, my van made the decision to bail out of who-knows-how-many-miles of sitting traffic, and go north to Clatskanie, west to Astoria, and then meet back up with Van 1 in time for van exchange five.

  It was an amazing experience -- even just as a driver. You're reminded how team plus sport allows for amazing things to happen. That has always driven me and inspired me, and it was awesome to be a part of something like that once again.

  Next year, if I'm able, I'll be running.

Brownstars
Seaside, Oregon.
The always sunny Oregon Coast.
The finish line.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Buffs4Life Fun Run Recap


Di addressing the crowd after the Buffs4Life Fun Run.

  I've made two long-weekend visits to Colorado in two months. Most recently, mid-July, to celebrate one teammate's wedding.

  The first visit, in June, was for another college teammate -- Di Spencer.

  Late this spring, Di was diagnosed with MS, and her Buff family wanted to reach out and provide a helping hand.

  Buffs4Life selected Di to be their main beneficiary this year. The premise behind Buffs4Life is 'Buffs Helping Buffs'. With all the former student athletes that have donned a University of Colorado uniform, no matter the sport, there's bound to be a few in need of help each and every year.
Some of the women's hoopers that turned out in support of Di.

  This year Di was that Buff.

  Through the efforts of countless Buffaloes, $8,000 was raised for my teammate and great friend Di.

  It was a special weekend; teammates and their families, staff members, and friends from our playing days turned out in droves in support of Di.

  I know Di was especially touched just by the turnout and the support.

  Thanks to the people with Buffs4Life for coming to Di's side -- it means the world to her, and to those of us who care about her!

Some pictures & a video from the Buffs4Life weekend in June.

video
The Friday night BBQ turned into a friendly 15 yard race between former football players.
The '94 Heisman winner was victorious.

Linda (in Coach Lappe mode) addressing the crowd at the start line.
Laps getting the crowd fired up for Di.


Pre race mingling.
The crowd getting ready to start the race.
Buff teammates and families ready to walk for Di.
Britt, Coach Barry and Kami catching up during the 5k (or was it 3k?).



Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Summer is Serious Returns


 
  All my hoopers -- no matter where you live -- here's your shot to go to Barcelona in September with Nike Basketball.

  Grab your phone, and have a friend record your skills --your nicest dunk, your range from three, your best ball handling -- show off your A-game and you might be selected!

  Upload, and share your video via social media (Twitter, Instagram, FaceBook) with #SummerIsSerious (#SearchForTheBaddest if you're outside of the US). And don't forget to register here to make it all official.


  If the kind folks at Nike Basketball like your game, you'll get a player card, a nickname, and earn a spot on The Baddest Draft Board (100 spots). After that, you never know what might happen -- you could find yourself on a plane to Barcelona with the Swoosh!

  It's pretty easy. I did it last year. And if you get selected, the payoff is is well-worth it.

  Questions? Let me know!
IMPORTANT LINKS:


My entry from last year:
The player card Nike made for me.

The video I submitted.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Papa's Team's Revival

Papa's Team -- the 2013 rendition.

  Last summer, I had the opportunity to lead a fundraising and walk effort on behalf of my grandpa benefiting the Alzheimer's Association. 

  Through the help of friends, family and loyal readers, Papa's Team was able to collect $700 for the Portland edition of the 2013 Walk to End Alzheimer's.

  After the walk last summer, I wanted to commit to making the walk a yearly event --to bring attention to the far-reaching disease, raise funds for an outstanding organization, and most importantly, walk in the memory of Papa each and every year.

  As promised, it's that time again to start leading fundraising efforts, and asking friends and family to join us for a walk at PIR in September. 

  Walk details are as follows:
2014 Walk to End Alzheimer's 
Portland, OR 
Date: Sunday, September 7, 2014 at 2pm 
Location: Portland International Raceway 
1940 North Victory Boulevard Portland, OR 97217 
Coordinator: Kara Busick 
Phone: 503-416-0209 
Why Walk is Important
Click for details about Alzheimer's.
  The Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Held annually in more than 600 communities across the country, the walk calls on participants of all ages and abilities to help affect the future for millions.

  Together, we can end Alzheimer’s disease -- the nation’s sixth-leading cause of death.

  The cost of care and support is rising on a yearly basis because the number of those living with Alzheimer's continues to grow exponentially. It is up to us to help ease those costs, and hopefully, eventually, find a cure.

  My family lost Papa to Alzheimer's in the Spring of 2009, after a 12-year bout with the disease. If our fundraising can help bring awareness to, aid a caregiver or family member, or eventually help with finding a cure, then we have done our job.

  I hope you can join us on September 7th, or donate on behalf of Papa's Team! Let me know if you have any questions.
LINKS:


Nana & Papa
The Dresslers
My cousin, Robbie, & I with Papa.   
Nana & Papa on their anniversary in 2009. 
The Promise Garden at the 2013 Walk. 

Walk start like at Portland International Raceway.
The button I had made for Papa's Team.