Always Bet On Black

What a difference six years make.

The photo on the right is from Kevin’s first karate belt test. The test was on September 24th, 2016. Kevin was eight years old, and passed his yellow belt test with one arm. He was hanging on the swingset and tried to swing by holding the bar. He slipped, landed on the yard, and broke his left arm.

Sensei Dave said if Kevin wants, he can take the belt test. Kevin did his best, and did well enough to receive his first belt. He was never happier to have passed the test with the cast.

Kevin was scheduled for his adult black belt test Saturday morning. The test was grueling, and the instructors – nearly all bigger, older, men and women – were not easy on them. The candidates all did very well, and I was especially proud of Kevin, who never slowed down, and fought harder than usual.

At one point, one of the bigger instructors – has to be way over six feet – grabbed Kevin in a bear hug, and lifted up a few feet. Kevin fought and struggled to get out of the grip and eventually got free. After the second giant bear hug, they took a quick break, and you could see Kevin was getting really tired. He kept going.

The test ended with 800 punches, and every candidate needed to finish the 800 before receiving their belt. Kevin did it quickly, and afterward, he moved to one of the candidates and cheered him on. It was a great day, and it’s a day Kevin will never forget.

Kevin will continue karate, and start moving to his next level black belt. I am so proud of him.

Well, He Saved The Best For Last

So yesterday was Kevin’s final cross-country race for the season. Since he was a latecomer, he only participated in five races, and he wasn’t even sure if he would get number five.

You see, Kevin’s cross-country team is short on runners. They have nine total competitors, and because Kevin hasn’t run as much, he was asked to come to the race as an alternate.

Kevin wanted to run, but he knew the more experienced runners would have a better chance at doing well in divisionals. He said he would support the team, cheer for them, and hope for the best. Although he wasn’t scheduled to run, he asked if I would come see the race, so I did.

Well, I get there, and Kevin walks up to me and says, “I think I’m running today.” I assume he was kidding, but no, he was actually going to run. The captain (standing, top left) was suffering from an injury, and the boy on the lower right (in the gray hoodie) was also injured.

So, the coach asked Kevin if he could run. Kevin was ecstatic and said, “Yes!”

Continue reading “Well, He Saved The Best For Last”

It’s Championship Day!

Well, the cross-country season is finally ending today, as the Philadelphia Catholic League Cross-Country Championships are set for today. Since Kevin’s team is so short, he will run the Freshman race and likely, the Varsity race as well.

I don’t know how he’ll be able to run two 3.1 mile races in such a span, but he told me, “If they need me, I’ll run again.”

Kevin has never been a fan of team sports. He loves Krav maga, but never really wanted to be on a team, per se. That changed when he entered high school, and he immediately joined the cross-country team – the sport I played in the same high school. He hasn’t been the fastest kid there, and after every race his ankles hurt, but the kid does not give up.

Kevin has already told the track and field coach he wants to run indoor/outdoor, and Erik suggested he try long jump and high jump – events Erik excelled in.

So, wish Kevin luck. Not that it will matter, since he just really likes to run.

The Boy Is Getting The Hang Of It

So a week after Kevin accidentally took a wrong turn at his cross-country meet, he totally made up for it yesterday. It was the last regular season meet, and while it was still only his third race ever, he did better than I expected.

After the first half mile, he was lagging in the back, but he was still running okay. He latched up with a teammate, and they ran together through the entire 5k race. As he came around the last turn, he seemed like he was struggling, and as he passed me, I told him, “The final approach to the finish line is right ahead. When you get bear the flag line, you run as fast as you can to make up some time.”

He did so, and shaved a good fifteen seconds off his time. Kevin finished 144 out of 149, which isn’t great, but he finished dead last the week before.

Kevin has never really been a runner, but he’s starting to get into a groove. His coach is very encouraging, and after cross-country finishes, he will continue running for indoor/outdoor track. I think he may like track more than cross-country, because his ankles hurt a lot after racing, but he said he wants to do cross-country and track.

I was very proud of him yesterday. He could have just slow jogged to the finish, but he took my advice and sprinted to the end. Kevin was so excited that he hugged me in front of other people, which he never does. Yes, he has more work to do when it comes to running, but he is truly making an effort to make himself faster.

Oh, and before you ask, I have no idea why he’s making that face while running.

It’s Graduation Day

Well, today will be a very busy day.

Two of my sons will be graduating today; Erik will be graduating from high school at 10am, and Kevin will be graduating from elementary school at 7pm. You wouldn’t think graduations would be set on the same day, but at least the ceremonies are spread apart.

Erik will be attending Alvernia University in the fall, and Kevin will be attending Archbishop Ryan High School – my and Mrs. Earp’s Alma mater. It’s a big day at the Earp Ranch, so I’m not sure I’ll be around much today. I will have posts set up today, however.

The Gloves Are Off

So Thursday was not a good day. Julia had to come home early from school after she had a minor issue – it was nothing, she’s fine – and after we made sure she was a-okay, Kevin came up to me and said a classmate took his belt and started punching him in the face in the school bathroom.

I stopped in my tracks, and replied, “WHAT?!” Kevin has had trouble with bullies a few times previously, but this is the first time he was physically attacked. Apparently this prick started punching Kevin in the face, and Kevin fought back, albeit meekly.

When I asked him why he didn’t destroy this POS with his karate training, he said, “I didn’t want to get into trouble.” So he basically let this kid beat him up, because he was afraid the school would discipline him. Worse still, this asshole was bragging about the fight in class in front of Kevin’s classmates.

Furious, I told him we aren’t paying all this Krav maga money for him to sit by while people attack you. So, I decided to give him my blessing. “If this happens again, you fight him as hard as you can, and you don’t stop until the threat is over. Use your throws to slam him onto the floor and keep him down until an adult arrives.”

I didn’t think this would be an issue in a Catholic school, because I’d assume the useless teachers there would keep an eye out for violence. I will say this, though; if Kevin is attacked again, I’m suing the administration, the teachers, and the Archdiocese. I’m going to make it my mission in life.

Super Genius!

You may remember the post from October 28th, where I wrote about Kevin’s entrance exam for Archbishop Ryan High School. Kevin ended up earning a score of 97, and we were hoping that maybe, just maybe, he would get some extra financial aid for his efforts.

Kevin did better than we imagined…

Congratulations! It is with immense pleasure that I inform you that you’ve been selected to receive the President’s Award to attend Archbishop Ryan High School. Each year, students who have distinguished themselves through outstanding academic achievement, personal excellence, and stellar performance on our Presidential Scholarship & Placement Test are chosen from the entering class to receive this honor.

Kevin scored a 97 on the test. The highest score you can achieve is a 99. Slacker.

Your scholarship is $7,000 per year at Ryan for a total of $28,000

I have to congratulate you on your amazing performance on our entrance test. This is a great honor! You’ll receive an official letter in the mail within the next couple of days with the details of your scholarship and test results. This will give you more time to celebrate and do a happy dance.

Mrs. Earp forwarded me the email, and Kevin – being Kevin – sent me this text: “I JUST GOT A $7,000 SCHOLARSHIP TO RYAN, OH MY GOD!”

I am so totally and completely proud of him. The kid is a super genius.

P.S.Kevin is still in the running for the Neumann Scholarship, which is a free ride through high school.

It’s A Very Busy Day

So, earlier this week, the Philadelphia Phillies – who I despise – had a home series with the Baltimore Orioles – who I love. Kyle had the opportunity to see the first game, and as an O’s fan, he went with some of his friends. Erik wanted to go, but he has school the next day. I couldn’t take him to the final game, because I had training.

So, being the great father I am, I bought four tickets to the Orioles game in Baltimore this afternoon. I figured I’d go with Kyle, Erik, and Kevin… until Mrs. Earp pulled me aside and said, “You know Kevin has the Neumann Scholarship test today, right?

She told me this moments after I told Kevin about the game. F**k!

So, after Kyle and Erik literally called me senile, I walked up to Kevin and told him how badly I screwed up. Suffice to say, he wasn’t pleased, and I apologized more times than I could count. It’s cap day, so I told him I would give him my cap when we get home tonight. Hopefully he doesn’t hate me for too long.

In that vein, the Neumann Scholarship test is very important, and if he is one of the winners, Kevin will get a free ride to any Catholic high school in the Philadelphia Archdiocese. The test last four hours. I have every confidence Kevin will do well, and if he doesn’t get win the scholarship, that’s okay, too.

If you could send up some good thoughts for Kevin today, I would appreciate it.

Hello, Neumann!

So the other day Kevin came home from school with some paperwork. The paperwork was an application for the Newmann Scholars program.

The program identities students with outstanding grades and offers them the chance to take the test and submit an essay. The winners will receive a four-year scholarship to any one of seventeen Archdiocesan high schools.

Kevin’s grades have always been exceptional, and he destroyed the TerraNovas this year, which likely put him on the program’s radar. Now, I don’t necessarily expect him to be awarded the scholarship, but I absolutely believe he will do well on the test. I simply told him to do his best and we’ll see where it leads.

Kevin did very well on the test he took for the private school, but when he saw how much it cost, he told us he didn’t want to go because it would be too much of a financial burden on us. For my part, I told him if he wants to go there, we’ll make it happen. That said, a four-year ride would be a blessing, and with Kevin’s giant brain, maybe it’ll happen.

It’s The Holiday Season…

No one in my household gets more excited for Christmas than Kevin. You’d think it would be Princess P, but no, it’s Kevin All The Way. So today I am waking up entirely too early on my day off so Kevin and I can hit the malls and get gifts for his siblings.

Like every year, I suspect Kevin will go WAY overboard.

When I was Kevin’s age, I would scrape whatever money I had and give my brother a bag of M&M’s and maybe some hockey trading cards. Kevin, on the other hand, will try to get everyone a small gift, a medium gift, and a super awesome amazing giant gift. And the kid really puts effort into his choices.

Last year we were in a sports store and he picked out a lamp for Kyle. Not just any lamp; the base was adorned with the Baltimore Orioles logo. Suffice to say, Kyle went crazy for it.

Kevin saves most of his chore money for this time of year, and he’ll drag his wad of cash to the mall with us today. We’ll spend an easy 2-3 hours shopping, but it’s worth it to see him get so happy with his gift choices. Wish us luck.