Sunday, September 18, 2016

Osthoff Tradition

Simone likes to remind us that something you do year after year is a tradition.  This July we kept it going with our annual four day adventure to Osthoff's resort in Elkhart Lake, WI.  We take this trip each summer with Dennis, Kari, Jack and Stella Vogel (someday baby Reed will join too!).  I think the pictures speak for themselves.  It's amazing!

The Muskrats

8 year old boys are easily distracted.  At least that's what their baseball coaches will tell you.  Cullen played his first season of kid pitch baseball.  During practice the boys would often be looking at the marshy, wooded area behind the field for muskrats.  If they spied one, they would completely lose focus of the baseball tasks at hand.  Finally, after one trying practice, Coach Brad named them the BGC Muskrats and sent them off into the outfield to chase the little rodents.  (Don't worry, the muskrats scurried away pretty quickly!)

The way kid pitch baseball works is, the players are allowed to pitch until the ball is hit, the hitter strikes out swinging or the fourth "ball" is called.  Once the ump calls the fourth "ball", a coach will come in to pitch.  This encourages the kids to strike out swinging.  Some kid pitches are pretty wild and it's not uncommon to see someone hit my a pitch.  But its also great training ground for kids to learn to throw some pitches and kids to start reading the ball as it leaves the arm.

Cullen's team was made up of a great group of kids and parents.  Dirk also helped coach this team along with Coach Tim and Coach Brad (and sometime Coach Eric).   The boys were scheduled with one practice and two games each week. The boys won and lost a few games each.  There were sure signs of improvement in all facets of the game.  The finale was an end-of-season tourney.  The boys tied their first tourney game and lost the second.  Unfortunately, their season ended without a championship win, but the Muskrats are hungry for next year!

BGC Tball

Simone was adamant that she was going to play BGC Tball - just like Cullen.  Simone was adamant that Dirk would be her coach - just like Cullen.  Simone was quite the baller - just like Cullen.

When Dirk received his team list, he noticed one thing: it was a female-dominated team.  Seven girls and three boys on the BGC Gold team.  Five of the players have older brothers in the BGC baseball program.  Thus, they are not strangers to the ballfield.  Coaches Matt, Dirk and Mark not only had the best listeners, but the fiercest competitors in the league.  It was amazing to see the progress this squad made from the first to the first to the last game.

Three of the teammates:  Simone, Avery and Griffen also had brothers who played on the BGC Muskrats kid pitch team.  These kids were together four nights a week and formed quite a bond.  The big brothers liked to attend the Tball games and "help" - sometimes a little too much.  During the last game, Cullen played catcher (rounding up the balls in a bucket for the coaches).  When Simone's team was in the field on defense and a ball was bunted just outside the batters box, Cullen went after it to make a play.  From the outfield Simone could be heard yelling, "Cullen, this is NOT your team.  Stop it!".  Even though she wants to be just like her brother, he is not allowed to steal her spotlight!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Celebrating Freedom

From bike rides, to fireworks to lawn games with grandpa Mark and grandma Liz:  Happy 4th of July!