Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Desultory Post about Wrestling, Top Gear and Two Books

Wrestling:
The regular season of wrestling has ended. Evan started off strong, with several victories and a wonderful wave of confidence at the beginning of the season. As things continued though, this was the scene we saw most often for our youngest boy: 

I don't know for sure, but I think he ended the regular season with something like 11 wins and 22 losses. Rough times. It might seem a strange photo to post, of a boy in a vulnerable moment,  but I actually really like this image. I like the story it tells of how he's feeling and of his coaches' support. I want Evan to remember this first year with all the ups and downs, that he kept on running out to that mat, even as the losses stacked up. I want him to remember that culture of team loyalty that I've never seen in another sport. Even though each player goes out alone, he sees his win or loss as for the team as much as more than for himself. Often when Ev, the youngest and least experienced varsity player, was out on the mat, every other boy was standing up and cheering for him, willing him to win. It is something kind of special to watch in a humble high-school gym. 

I said he started strong and in spite of the numbers, he finished strong, which is what really matters. He continues to train hard for the post-season, even though the chances of wins at this even higher level are thin. He continues to support his mates and be committed to the team, of which thing I'm very, very proud.  Recently, it was nice to see all 4 of my boys mentioned in this little local newspaper article even though it was about a tough loss. Evan is mentioned starting in the 3rd paragraph. 

Top Gear: 
So, there's this very silly British television show called Top Gear. I've enjoyed it off and on for years when I remember to catch it on BBC America or occasionally on PBS.  Last weekend, there was a 3-day marathon of the show in preparation for the new season. I decided to record it all. 60-something episodes. I've been knitting like a lunatic (big deadlines) and watching this show in many spare moments this week, and it's been a very good week. Now, I feel I must explain.  This is not a news show or a talk show or a British costume drama in series form, or anything else that I usually watch. It's a car show. Just cars. Driving them, comparing them, racing them, giving opinions on them, etc. But it is so hilarious as to make me laugh out loud in a way that few other things can do. Oh the adrenaline and endorphin rush this show gives me! Fortunately for me, I actually like cars and am pretty interested in them, so that makes it even more appealing, but honestly, the guys that host it, I think they could put on a show about growing squash or different kinds of vacuums and it would be just as ridiculously funny. It's probably just me, but I can't get enough.  Here's a sample if you happen to have 8 minutes to kill: 





And Finally, Two Books: 
In addition to all the mindless television I managed to watch, I also was able to listen to two audiobooks in their entirety: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle and When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. The reason I listened to them together is that the second one references the first in a fairly major way, and although you can enjoy it without having read the other one, I liked having the first story freshly in my head.  Both of these books are Newberry Medal winners, by the way.

YA Fiction
Science Fantasy
Published in 1962

It was interesting to read A Wrinkle in Time again after so many years. I think I read it in elementary school and remember loving it. This time, perhaps because I'm old and jaded, it did not resonate as strongly with me, but I still enjoyed it. It is a great adventure.  I think it speaks particularly skillfully to kids of a certain age who are trying still to figure out the world and their place in it. I think I needed the book and its message more as a kid. Maybe?  Also, the audio book was read by the author herself and sadly, she wasn't the greatest of narrators for me. While she obviously understood the story better than anyone, I thought her reading of it to be quite flat, with little expression.  In spite of all that, if you've never read it, I recommend it, if nothing else because it is a classic and you'll find it referenced in many other places.


YA Fiction
Fantasy, Mystery
Published in 2010

This is the story of a girl, Miranda, growing up in NYC  in the seventies with a mom who has just been granted a spot on a game show. Miranda feels pretty comfortable in her neighborhood and knows how the world works. Then things start to happen that turn her world upside down, starting with a change in her relationship with her best friend, Sal. Then there are mysterious happenings, such as the key to the apartment going missing, letters arriving that seem to predict the future, and other things. It all converges into a very interesting story that explores friendship, growing up, time travel and heroes.

I really liked this book. It was a quick read and I would recommend it to anyone as just a great story. I think I will even re-read this and be able to find ever more layers of complexity and meaning as I go. I'm very glad Ms. Stead decided to give up the life of a lawyer and follow her dreams to writing books.

5 comments:

  1. That article is neat, Kellie! What a legacy - and what tough shoes to try to fill, right? I love how he doesn't give up. He's got guts, and that will take him far :)

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  2. I love the emotion you captured in that shot.

    I really enjoyed When you Reach Me as well. That's a good idea to reread Wrinkle in Time before diving in to When You Reach Me.

    As for the car show, I love the image of you knitting away, watching these British guys talk shop.

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  3. Awesome article with all your boys mentioned! We are Top Gear fans too - so funny! BTW there was a child in our ward dressed up as "The Stig" for Halloween - how cool is that?!

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  4. Tim and I LOVE top gear...our favorite episode is the one in the amazon...absolutely classic!

    So proud of Evan for hanging in there! He's got big shoes to fill.

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  5. And yet another reason you and I are friends -- we love Top Gear. And you are right, the three guys would be funny talking about raising squash!

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Thank you for sharing your insights!