Tuesday, March 27th, 2012. On Thursday, March 15th, I won two tickets to two NCAA tournament games. Jackson and I drove to Greensboro the following afternoon to watch the Alabama/Creighton and UNC/Vermont games. Our seats were located on the front row in the corner the players and coaches used when they walked from the locker room to the court and vice-versa. That meant that we not only had a great view of the game, Jackson got to give all of the players and coaches high-fives, including the Carolina players. It was a pretty awesome way to spend a Friday afternoon.
The big thing this past weekend was the premier of The Hunger Games movie. We joined my sister Deana and other family and friends Sunday afternoon for the big event. Amy, Jackson and I had all read the novel and were pretty excited to see the film version. Ben stayed home with his favorite babysitter playing Pro Mini-Hoop in his room, basketball outside in the driveway and NBA 2K11 on the PS3.
Wednesday, March 15th, 2012. Jackson and I have talked about going camping, survivor style, for some time. It might have started when he read Hatchet, or maybe it was while watching SurvivorMan on television, but where ever the idea came from, we've had it for a long time. I promised that we would have our adventure in the woods as soon as his basketball season was over, so we marked this past weekend on the calendar. As it turned out, baseball practice started that weekend as well, with practice on both Saturday and Sunday. We decided to stick with our plans though and used the time constraint as added realism, since we had a very narrow window to build our shelter and start our fire before darkness fell. We left as soon as practice was over, drove to my grandmother's farm and hiked into the woods. We picked a spot along side Granny Branch and went to work. My dad showed up later on his four wheeler and contributed some additional man-power. Jackson cut trees and sticks with his camp saw, my dad chopped sticks to length with a hatchet and I constructed the shelter. We were finished in just over an hour. Jackson started the fire and we started carrying rocks from the river for the fire pit. My dad left and Jackson and I settled in for the night. We had a great dinner, I cooked sweet Italian sausage and Jackson made pasta. Later, when the temps dropped, we had hot chocolate with water we purified by boiling and ate roasted marshmallows. Before letting the fire die, we boiled two more pots of water so that we would have drinking water for breakfast, then tied our food high in a tree and turned in for the night. Our shelter was fantastic and we were sheltered from the wind and elements. A loud animal woke us early the next morning, so we climbed out and built another fire, cooked breakfast and went on a hike. We didn't take phones or cameras, so nothing was documented from our camp out, but when we returned later to show the campsite to Amy and Ben, I snapped a few photos. We then rushed back to town just in time to take a quick shower and hit the baseball field again.
Tuesday, March 6th, 2012. Jackson and the Patrick Prowl 6th grade AAU team wrapped up their 2011-2012 season Sunday with a 2nd place finish in the Ft Chiswell Amanda Montgomery Memorial Tournament. They won their first three games by increasing margins and were playing their best basketball of the year going into the championship game, where they held a 4 point lead at halftime before things slipped away in the 2nd half. It was a fantastic weekend though and I thoroughly enjoyed watching the team pay basketball. Jackson came off the bench in the semi-final game and went on a 6 minute hot streak, shooting 5 for 5 from the field, scoring 11 points in the process. Click here to watch a 2 minute video from that stretch of game. They won that game 72-38. Jackson has been on more teams than I can count and has had many, many great experiences in sports. But I rank his experience with the Patrick County Prowl at the very top. All the boys got along great, they played hard together on the court and played just as hard between the games. I think the memories and friendships made will stick with Jackson for a long time. As fun as the basketball was, I think the boys had just as much fun, if not more, horsing around at our house or at Hunter's between games, joking around at restaurants after the games or just hanging out in gyms between games. Frank was a great coach, the team improved and enjoyed the season. And Jackson got to play lots and lots of basketball. What more could you ask for.
Friday, March 2nd, 2012. In honor of Dr. Seuss' birthday, Amy sent Ben to school with red Swedish Fish, Goldfish and popcorn (think Red Fish, Blue Fish and Hop on Pop).
Thursday, March 1st, 2012. Amy and I finished the yearbook project on Monday. Whew! What a project. I alone probably invested sixty solid hours on it and Amy put in lots of her time as well. I followed that by quickly knocking out our taxes, which leaves me project free just in time for yard work and baseball. I have been trying to throw baseball for about thirty minutes a day with Jackson and practice basketball for thirty minutes with Ben, then work on projects like trimming our monkey grass with the weed-eater. I am super looking forward to Daylight Savings which rolls around in 10 days. The weather is fantastic today and Amy was able to visit with Joe in the backyard as he was out playing with his Aunt Shelly. Ben has decided to skip baseball this Spring, which will be the first season he has skipped, ever. And while it is sad to not see him in his cleats this Spring, I know that he will enjoy focusing on basketball and spending time outside playing with the neighbors.