Tag: Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo Pool Sessions Sponsored by Lee’s Adventure Sports

Kalamazoo Pool Sessions Sponsored by Lee’s Adventure Sports

Lee’s Adventure Sports will be sponsoring Kayak Lessons and Pool Sessions throughout winter and into early spring.

Go Kayak Now! will be leading the ACA instructional program in the pool.

Please refer to the Go Kayak Now! Lessons Page for the calendar and details.

In short,

Every other Sunday starting Dec 13th 2009 between 1-3 at the Gable Natatorium Pool under Lawson Ice Arena on WMU Campus. Sessions will likely run until open water returns.

Open Pool time is $10.00
Lessons, either intro, Rolling, or Rolling and Bracing, Rescues, etc $20.00.

Lee’s will be renting equipment if you need anything for $10.00 for the session.

Email me, Facebook me, direct Tweet me, call me, or smoke signal me with any questions.

Defeated by Ice

Defeated by Ice

Headed down the backside of Westnedge hill this morning all suited up and raring to go on my morning commute. I got to my big scary downhill run and began riding the brakes to slow down before the descent. I unfortunately immediately locked out and slid on to the side of my bike and then proceeded to slide all the way down the hill on my side. It felt sort of cool actually like a dirt track racer, skidding down the entire hill on my side. After all the rain we had yesterday, and then the following cold temperatures, I decided that today it was ok to drive. If you crash less than a mile from your home on ice on Dec 12th, I’d say you toughed it out right. Or am I a giant weenie for driving?

Problem is- Westnedge hill is indeed a hill at all four points of the compass in Kalamazoo. You have to descend the hill at some point to get anywhere. The streets to use off the hill where there is little traffic ironically also have the issue of no salt, and no traffic to keep them clear. So my morning commute in winter consists of a white knuckled descent into a hairpin turn onto Burdick. In summer it’s sweet. I cruise down the hill, hit the turn at full speed; balls out to the wind, slow for traffic and then high tail it to work. In winter it’s a technical descent on a sheet of ice. Once you make it off the hill the streets are usually clear. I suppose I could *walk* my bike to the bottom. But that just seems silly.

Kalamazoo Ultimate Disc League

Kalamazoo Ultimate Disc League

Sometimes it is good to start something new. Being the newbie, or “the dead weight”, is good for your soul. It teaches humility and patience.

I played in the “Kalamazoo Ultimate Frisbee league”:http://www.kzooultimate.org/index.html , or KUDL league this summer at the insistence of Darrough West. I was hesitant at first remembering my many years on team sports playing soccer. (20+ years). I’ve probably spent more time chasing a soccer ball than most people have spent sleeping. This is a good thing because to me this drove me towards the individual sports I enjoy so much. But I went to a few pick up games early in the summer and started chasing the disc. It’s in the blood somewhere. Ever watch a labrador chase a frisbee. They can’t help themselves.

For the uninitiated, “Ultimate”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultimate_frisbee is a hybrid between American football, (I prefer to think Rugby) basketball and soccer. The objective is to throw the disc to a player into the endzone. The player with the disc may not move, so players without the disc must move into open space to catch a throw from the “handler”. The handler only has 10 seconds to throw the disc before having to turn it over to the other team. Any time a pass is not completed it is turned over to the other team. There is obviously a lot of strategy and skill associated with both the handler and the players looking to catch the disc.

The key skills are throwing and catching. Backhand throwing is the skill most people are comfortable with. Forehand is an essential skill. When you’re being marked, a backhand throw takes more space to execute. A forehand is quicker and more fluid while under pressure. However it is not a natural motion so it must be practiced. I worked all summer to develop a forehand throw. I would throw out in the back yard with whomever would play catch with me. Gabriel actually developed a pretty good forehand too. In the end I was able to execute many good forehand throws before summer was out.


The intangible skills such as making cuts in front of the handler took longer and I clogged the throwing lanes for too long in the beginning. But in the end got better. In soccer the player with the ball can move, so my instincts, were to run diagonally towards the handler in the hopes of a throw. This sometimes cut off other cuts from our own team. Quick straight line cuts towards the thrower end up being more efficient.

I played on a coed team with some fantastic players. These players were also very patient and positive with the newer players. Of which, I was one of four. Towards the end I think I got a lot better. But I am sure it was hard to throw to someone who may or may not catch the disc. And then further harder to watch as this newbie threw it away. Everyone was very positive and tried to offer advice on what action to take rather than on the obvious “what not to do”. As a result, those pointless drops and throws narrowed to a few in the end. I made concerted efforts towards patience. I managed to throw away very few in the end. And I also laid out for a few throws that I should have caught on the first pass to redeem myself.

The KUDL summer tournament yesterday ended on a high note with Darrough’s team taking second, ours (somewhere closer to the bottom). Though we did get a team spirit award.

My lesson in this was to stay positive without beating up on myself too much. Getting hung up on what went wrong sometimes distracts from the goal of putting the disc in the end zone. When you drop something, or throw it away, look for your mark and start running, don’t get hung up on what you did wrong because if you get stuck in, most likely it will turn around.

For the rest of life this holds true.

Kalamazoo are you ready to Rock!

Kalamazoo are you ready to Rock!

Sometimes you forget why being young and full of energy is so much fun. And then you go out till two in the morning to see live music. I’ve been to see some stellar shows this year, Sigur Ros, Tom Waits, and later on I will see the Decemberists too. Oddly enough seeing Wolf Parade tops the list for sheer energy. One of the band members had an allergy attack and had to go to the hospital to get 500cc’s of epinephrine, (wow do I empathise). They played for over an hour anyway.

Simply put it is so cool to feel the floor shake, the glasses rattling on the bar, and then watch the room jump. I love that feeling at rock shows where you don’t know what is going to happen. Of course there is a limited range of variables. But having been to shows where: everyone sits in their seat, no one dances, and that token dorky white guy doesn’t do that crazy arm pumping thing, no one needlessly takes off their shirt, no one falls down drunk; can you really call it rock and roll?

I say no.