Team: The Force – June 5, 2005

This weekend our family and friends got together to support cancer and participate in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life cancer walk. You get a team together, raise some money, and walk for 24-hours in support of cancer research and the people who have battled cancer. It was a lot of fun, some hard work and tiring, especially on my feet.

My parents showed up at Monroe’s Sky River Park on Saturday morning and began to set-up camp. At about 8:30am me, Lis, the in-laws and Lukas showed up to help out. By 9am everything was setup and we started organizing our camp area.

We had named our team The Force, in honor of Episode III,  but didn’t have any decorations. Meanwhile the camps nearby were putting up their hula gear, wrangling up their cowboy stuff, and showing us how unorganized we really were. That was alright, we were newbies.

Eventually our teammates began to show up. My grandparents came at about 9am, my Uncle Jeff, Sara, Tito and pal showed up after they did. Randy showed up shortly after as did Erik. Even Ian Dowrey and his brother James showed up in the afternoon. Cory and Hillary showed up in the evening, Ian Barnes and his roommate Kelli followed them and Josh wandered in at about 9pm. We had a good showing and it was nice to have everyone there.

We tallied the laps we walked and Josh, being the competitive dude he is, finished with 36 laps. Elen, had 35, Randy had 31 and I believe my Mom had around 31 also. Good job to everyone that walked. I did about 24 laps, 23 in pain as my heels just weren’t willing to cooperate with me. Thankfully, my blisters are now starting to disappear a couple of days later.

It was a lot of fun. It’s amazing to see how many people are affected by cancer either by a friend or family member or just being a survivor. Lis and I talked to a husband and wife couple that went through the same thing we are going through a few years ago. The husband came up to me and told me about how this affects me as much as anyone else. His wife had to do three things of chemo before she was in remission, I told him Lis had to do only one and he replied, “you’re the luckiest guy here today.” Why thank you!

The best part of the evening was probably the lighting of the luminaria bags. The survivors gathered at the stage and all lit a candle. Then they turned and lit other people’s candles until finally everyone was lit (or at least their candles were). Then we branched out to the luminaria bags that had been set out along the track. The Relay organizer said…if you’re a parent of a survivor light the bag, if you’re a brother or sister light the bag, if you’re a spouse (that’s me!) light the bag and so on and so forth. Then the bag pipes played “Amazing Grace” and it started to get emotional. I was doing alright until I looked at Sogra and she was bawling. I couldn’t hold it any longer. You see, Lis’ family isn’t known for being emotional so if one of them is crying you know that it’s touching them deeply and to see her crying like this I knew it was touching her straight in the heart. I leaned over and gave her a hug, knowing how she felt – kinda.

The rest of the night we hung out at camp, talking, drinking, and having a good time. I eventually fell asleep at 2:30-ish and didn’t wake up until 6:30-ish. The next morning we cleaned up camp and went home to rest. There I slept from 10am until 4pm, resting my blistered ol’ feet.

Of course, at 5:40pm was our first playoff game. Luckily everyone showed up, we battled back from a 15-point first half deficit to take out JTS Painting. Mike hit a shot with 20-something seconds remaining to give us a two-point lead and then hit a free-throw after our defense shut them down for 15 seconds. We ended up winning by three after one of their players missed a three at the buzzer that looked good.

In our second game the fatigue caught up to us and with about eight minutes remaining our 7-point lead disappeared and we couldn’t battle back. It was a good game and we’ll be ready next year. The Goonies are fo’ real dawg!

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