Robyn’s last game with Mike Cleary, Feb 18, 2018

Today was the last game of 10 years of my daughter playing for this man. When she started she could outrun anyone on the field, but a gust of wind might blow her over. A gazelle on a top team in the city. She got to travel far away to play in miserable weather. She got to learn that she is deeply competitive, even ruthless, but never dirty or unfair. She got to learn team success. She got to make mistakes that cost the team the tournament. She got to sit on a bench and wait for another chance. She got another chance and failed at that too. She got to endure two frustrating years playing only 1/3 of a game on a struggling no longer top team in the city. She got to learn that if failure is one’s fate, then not complaining and continuing to work hard every day is how you beat it. That character and perseverance is necessary to win in the long run.

She got to learn that she is a Marine by nature: That she’ll take that hill or die trying. Anything less is unthinkable. And that most people are unlike her, so she’ll probably spend much of her time climbing that hill alone. But that the view is worth it.

She got to learn that life is unfair. But that even if one is too small to hold onto the ball, one can always develop a great first touch so as never to be caught with the ball in the first place. Which now makes one a great passer. So weakness overcome at one stage of development becomes an advantage at the next. And that when height and strength finally do arrive, payback is beautiful.

The gazelle is now a panther.

I didn’t always have faith my daughter was going to be a good player. Those failures were painful, and it was my first rodeo. She had athleticism, but lacked skill and received no reward. I didn’t think anyone else had faith in her either, perhaps even her coach. 5 years in, after another disappointing year, I asked if we needed to move on. He was shocked at the question, answering: “Absolutely not. She is about to become very good and I have big plans for her.”

(What he only told us later was that he was alone in that opinion. All the other coaches had recommended he drop her.)

That meeting ended our concern. I trusted the man. That summer she grew, and that fall everything changed for the better.

3 girls who played all 10 years together. 8 who played the last 6. That just doesn’t happen. You have to be incredibly lucky.

Lucky to have a coach powerful enough to win the internal club battles and keep the team together. Who has always done the right thing for the player, as opposed to himself. Who cares about character and chemistry and playing soccer the right way. Who praises a loss played well, and criticizes a win played badly. Who criticizes without belittling. Who believes that fundamentals cannot be taught via shortcuts. Who demands you play it out of the backfield. That you pass to build up an attack instead of just kicking it downfield. Even if it means you lose for a few years. That you need to take that hill the way he tells you to take that hill, and if you die today while trying, today isn’t the most important matter.

Where you are in 10 years is the most important matter.

Thank you, Michael Cleary. Your character matters, and that is why this team always stayed together. My daughter has been incredibly lucky to have you as her coach. May you have many more teams of quality, and may you be respected and rewarded for being the great coach you are.

Robyn freshman year SMS girls soccer team 2015

Thanks to Lee Jarrell for all the videotaping…

Tourney-SMS vs BVN 1st half

Tourney-SMS vs BVN 2nd half

Tourney-SMS vs OE first half 2015

Tourney-SMS vs OE 2nd half 2015

Tourney-SMS vs SMW 1st half 2015

Tourney-SMS vs SMW 2nd half 2015

Tourney-SMS vs SMW overtime 2015

SMS vs OE 1st Half-2015

SMS vs OE 2nd Half-2015

SMS vs Olathe North 1st Half-2015

SMS vs Pembroke 1st Half 2015

SMS vs Pembroke 2nd Half 2015

SMS vs SMW 1st Half 2015

SMS vs SMW 2nd Half 2015

SMS vs SMNW 1st Half 2015

SMS vs SMNW Overtime 2015

SMS vs SMNW 2nd Half 2015

SMS vs SME 1st half 2015

SMS vs SME 2nd Half 2015

SMS vs ONW 1st Half 2015

SMS vs ONW 2nd Half 2015

SMS vs Olathe South 1st Half 2015

SMS vs Olathe South 2nd Half 2015

SMS vs Olathe South Overtime 1 2015

SMS vs Olathe South Overtime 2 2015

SMS vs Leavenworth 1st Half 2015

SMS vs Leavenworth 2nd Half 2015

SMS vs Lawrence End of 1st Half 2015

SMS vs Lawrence 1st Half 2015

SMS vs Lawrence 2nd Half 2015

SMS vs SM North 1st Half 2015

SMS vs Olathe South 2nd Half Regionals 2015

SMS vs Olathe South 1st Half Regionals 2015

Robyn on TV

As a freshman athlete, Robyn has been in a couple of TV broadcasts. Using this page to keep track of the links.

First, she played in a basketball tournament in Topeka. They won an upset on Thursday, and this was the loss on Friday to the home team and favorite. “I’m loving it.”

Then the SMSD broadcast the home game between SMS and SMN. We won, and Robyn played a significant part in it.

And this was the pre-season school video they showed at the Pep Rally.

The soccer team promo

Hy Vee Player of the Week

Robyn freshman class art project

The assignment was a 3-D self-portrait of oneself in a scene of something the student did. Robyn picked basketball. It was displayed in the SMS hallway.

I took a series of photographs at different angles, used gimp to remove the background, hugin to align the images, then gimp to produce the final animated gif. No doubt my part could be much improved, but I time-boxed only 2 hours and it took 4. Fun learning for me and I’m proud of her.

Robyn's basketball self-portrait 2014

Robyn’s Poem Assignment, 7th Grade

Use the information to write the first draft of a ballad.

  • Make a when, what, and where statement, and then add more information about what is happening. Arrange the information in a rhyming pattern (ABCB).
  • Continue the story in rhyme describing what happens next. This can be one or more stanzas. Use as many as you need to tell your story. (IT MUST BE 3-4 STANZAS TOTAL.)
  • Describe how the story ends. Finish the stanza with a thoughtful line to end your ballad.
  • Title: Obama

    Around November 2008
    Obama was elected.
    All the blacks and all the whites
    where majorly affected.

    All the Presidents before him
    where very pale and white.
    But Barack Obama is black
    Even in the light.

    The first time he ran against
    Palin with McCain.
    He beat them in 2008
    And began his way to fame.

    He was President for 4 years,
    and number 44.
    His term was over in 2012.
    But the people wanted more.

    Elected again, President now,
    and never will be alone.
    The first African American President
    will always be remembered and known.

    Gilda’s club Kansas City ribbon cutting

    Pearl was the emcee and took the kids. The KC star photographer took a picture of them painting and they made the Star magazine in last Sunday’s issue. Winston’s uniform shirt was covered with paint and “ruined”, but he had outgrown it anyway. The Star doesn’t have the picture online, but thanks to my friend, Richard Woodward who got me a pdf of the magazine page. Last picture on the bottom


    Here is the video I took at the CYO track meet at Bonner Springs on Sat, April 28, 2012.

    Track results here

    Summary: Robyn’s knee tightened up during warm ups and was hurting. I told her to pull out of the 1600m if it did not clear up. She ran a good pace (1:28 in lap 1, 1:35 in lap 2; best 2nd lap ever?) but pulled out of the back-stretch during lap 3. Her asthma had kicked in and she could not breathe. It had rained the night before, and the air was thick and the pollen was up. (And the guy at the concession stand was grilling burgers so she ran into smoke on the home stretch.) She had taken her medicine and a pull earlier, but it wasn’t enough. She felt herself going into bad-wheezing mode, so she pulled off. Pearl was standing with Catherine when it happened, who exclaimed: “You can do that?” Mary ran a 6:01, Molly a 6:37, and Grace a 6:38 1600M race

    Robyn recovered fine and was dancing around for the rest of the day. I think we need to have her warm up much harder and hurt her lungs before the 1st race so they get used to it. Robyn did the long jump for the first time this year. Was nervous because she’d only had one practice, but she pulled it off and won with a 12-07. Long Jump

    Alia won the 100m with a 15.15 100M race

    This was the first time Robyn had ever run the 400m. She did not enjoy it, but ran very well. Could probably run the 2nd and 3 legs a bit faster, but she finished great to win in 1:10.64 400M race

    The short medley was exciting because Robyn, Alia, and Catherine ran the final leg. Catherine started with perhaps a 5 yd lead over Robyn and a 10 yd lead over Alia. Alia made up huge ground on the turn to get in front of Robyn, then Robyn closed down half the distance to Catherine on the straight, but Catherine held on. Short medley

    Final race was the 4x100m relay


    Here is the video I took at the CYO track meet at Bishop Miege on Sat, April 21, 2012.
    Track results here
    6th grade. Robyn in the 1600M. Time: 6:17.95
    6th Grade 200m. Nice fist pump, Annie. Time: 33.66
    6th grade short medley relay. Alia in the anchor leg.
    Robyn in the 800m. Time: 2:58.99
    6th grade 4x100m. Robyn in 2nd leg
    Summary: Robyn shaved a couple of seconds off her best 1600m time. Mary ran a 6:01 and Robyn tried to stay with her on the 1st lap, but dropped down fast at the start of the 2nd lap. Brave effort, but lack of practice and cannot pace all 4 laps. Need to do more with 2nd and 3rd laps. Her 800m time was off her best and her legs were hurting.

    Robyn’s room 2012

    Daughter spent the day cleaning and re-arranging her room. The miracle of mess-removal, and once again being able to see the hard wood floors that her Mother and I discovered under crappy carpet and restored. We thought of taking a picture, then I remembered that photosynth is available for her new itouch, so we played with that. Good, but not good enough for Dad, so I spent 2 hrs taking the pictures, and maybe 10 hrs building the panorama with hugin, then the computer did a few hours of cranking as well. This one came out quite nicely. Problems mostly due to the average camera lens.