Honest review of my classes.

Well, now only 264 days until the end of school. So close, I know.

School’s been going good, for being school. AP World History has been the toughest, but I like the challenge. I feel like without it, school would be literally a breeze. It seems like PE, Chemistry, Spanish III and DP Math are all jokes, and all for different reasons. I’m pretty sure I have explained why PE is terrible before, but in the case that I haven’t, I dislike it because the level of physical exercise it provides is almost the bare minimum, totally menial for athletes participating in other sports.

Chemistry… Put simply, it’s around 20-30 minutes of learning, followed by 50-60 minutes of playing video games. Not only is it frustrating that we barely do anything, but it is equally as frustrating that what we are learning is extremely basic. I’m pretty sure I learned how to convert milliliters to liters in the fifth or sixth grade, in addition to learning how to balance a chemical equation and how electronegative a certain element is.

DP Math… is supposed to be an extremely high-level course, but it seems all we do is do problems out of a textbook, then go home and do 50+ questions on the same topic, with the same questions, simply with different numbers, rearranged variables and a different setup. I literally could teach myself what we are learning in class in 10-15 minutes at home by looking it up on the internet, then practice it for another 5 and be done.

I have no problems with American Literature. It’s a pretty good class, and although it does get boring sometimes, I can see the point of everything we are doing.

Spanish I. Oh wait, there are two more I’s? I would’ve never have guessed. Spanish III, at least for me, is like I am taking Spanish I all over again. I didn’t even take Spanish II, and yet I still speak Spanish just as well or better than most people in the class. I will say I am learning a bit, but not on the level that I expected this class to be, and if nothing else, I get a lot of practice speaking Spanish.

 

So those are my classes. My day usually starts off with an extremely challenging and difficult class, followed by 3-6 hours (depending on the day) of basically nothing. A major plus, however, is that I get out 2-2.5 hours early on most days, and that definitely helps a ton. I have a three day weekend starting tomorrow (with a cross country meet on Saturday), and I’m definitely looking forward to some more time off (who’s not?).

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Back to the grind…

Well… Only 275 days until the last day of school! Yay. Positivity.

Summer was amazing. With all the amazing places we visited over the last 3 months, it’s easy to lose myself reflecting on nostalgic memories, especially when comparing to… school. Today marks the first day of the second week of school for me, and I can already tell, this year is going to be much different than last year. I like half my teachers, and most of the other ones I can put up with for the rest of the year.

There are a few significant changes from last year for me. First and foremost: AP World History. Now, I’ve only had the class a few times so far, but I can already tell it is going to be more challenging than any of my previous or current classes. I know it’s going to be hard, and I’m prepared for that, so I think I’ll be fine.

Unfortunately, since I didn’t take PE last year, I’m required to take it this year. Which means PE 1, with all the freshmen. Which sucks. I can’t think of a more pointless class for those who actively participate in sports. But, I’m required to take it, so I can put up with it for one semester.

 

That’s it for my sophomore school year for today. So then, back to the past. From the time we got back to Breckenridge up until school started, we did a lot. We hung out with Team Summit on an amazing in-ground trampoline, I helped stop a theft at YoYoLoco before having an awesome YoYo Night yoyo playing and performing, and we hiked Mt. Elbert, the tallest 14er in Colorado for my mom’s birthday. We took a quick week-long trip down to Texas, where we stayed with our grandparents, I got my driving permit, attempted to run a 6 minute mile in 100+ degree weather (I ran 6:02) and had an amazing day with the Halls at Six Flags. I even took a trip down to Austin, where I hung out with my friends Sage and Calvin, and we went cliff jumping. Even though I broke my thumb and lost my GoPro at the same time, it was still the best day of the end of summer, what with climbing an abandoned building and jumping off cliffs in Barton Creek and bridges into Lake Austin. If you haven’t watched my video on Instagram, check it out here!

Last week, we had an extremely fun poker night with our friends the Rizzo’s, and I improved my Texas Hold ‘Em skills throughout. Before playing, we had played airsoft in our front/back/side yard until we couldn’t see anymore, which was also a blast.

I’ve also been running a ton, which is mandatory now that I’m on the cross country team 😛 I’ve had two meets plus one pre-season scrimmage, and they’ve all been for the most part pretty good. The first official meet was last week, and I thought I did pretty well. I ran a 6:45 first mile, 6:55 second mile, didn’t keep track of the third mile, and finished in 22:01. I ranked around 155th out of 319, and I was okay with that as it was my first meet.

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Running my first cross country race!

My second meet just occurred yesterday at CMC in Leadville, and it was a significantly harder course than the first one. The course started with two laps of a big hill, then went down to a winding, hilly loop that finished at the finish. I ran an extremely slow and conservative 7:40 first mile, then ran a 6:50 second mile, and again didn’t keep track of my third mile. The race was a JV/Open race for me, as I hadn’t qualified for varsity at the previous meet, so I placed pretty well, taking 13th out of 75. I finished in a time of 22:38, which was around what I predicted I would get.

Other than that, it’s just been a stereotypical few weeks, with school, weekends, sports, and lots and lots of homework, which is probably what I should be doing now. Snowboarding season starts in around 2 months, and I can’t wait (figuratively)!

Happy Birthday Noah!

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Exploring a cave in 2014

Happy 15th Birthday to my best friend, Noah Hall! Now I’m going to write as if I’m speaking directly to him for some reason. We’ve had some amazing adventures together, and I look forward to having more in the future. We’ve also built a lot of things together (some turning out good, some turning out… really weird… like that sled we made in July 😛 ), and those times are some of the best memories I have.

Thanks for always adventuring and exploring with me. There’s been so many fun times when we just did random stuff that turned out to be fun, like when we crawled underneath your house just to see what was under there, when we build a fort in the rain on your front porch, or even more recently, when we attempted to build the pinball machine!

Building the pinball machine!

I also think your love for adventure is awesome. It’s so cool that we both got the chance to travel the country and see things most kids don’t ever get to see. I’m grateful for your friendship, and can’t wait to see you again (COME UP TO COLORADO). Happy 15th!

 

 

Music

I am experiencing a severe lack of ideas of what to write about right now, so I thought to myself “What’s an extremely general topic that I could write a few paragraphs about?”. And this is what I thought up.

 

Music is a pretty significant part of my life. Not just playing an instrument (although I do love to play keyboard as often as I can), but listening to different songs, and each one of their different rhythms and sounds. On a typical day in the car, traveling around the country and driving for more than 4 hours, I can easily listen to music for most of the ride, which somehow helps pass the time, even though I’ve listened to those songs multiple hundreds of times.

Another reason I like music is because it can help me focus. When I’m gearing up for competitions, similar to probably most every other athlete on the planet, it helps me get in the zone. Whether it’s snowboarding or track (It doesn’t really help that much to gear up for tennis :P), music never fails to psych me up (Unless it’s something like Beethoven’s Symphony #9, which I actually listened to the first minute or so of before a competition just because I accidentally clicked on it. It didn’t help). I even was listening to music for a couple of my slopestyle runs last snowboarding season, which totally helped me focus on the tricks I was throwing (although it was a pain to setup right before I dropped).

I do love playing the keyboard, and I’m attempting to learn to play some of my favorite songs by ear. I’m close to being able to do it, and I can identify the key of each song if I try for a while, and can pick out the right hand melody if I practice for a few minutes, but still can’t instantly hear and play or even nail the individual left hand notes of the bass/background beat, resorting to mostly chords. But that’ll all come in time.

 

So that was my completely arbitrary entry on a random topic that I picked simply because I was listening to music at the time of writing. Hopefully you enjoyed those possibly parenthetical paragraphs, and I’ll be writing again shortly.

Summer

We just got back from our summer travels, and it’s been amazing. I haven’t been posting lately, because I was working on writing a post on school reflections, but I revised it so many times I forgot about publishing it… And that was all I was writing about. Anyways, why talk about school now, when I can talk about all our travels?

 

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been in many states, including Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia, (Regular) Virginia, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and Kansas. It’s been a rush, and we’ve packed so much into the time since we left Breck that I’m having trouble remembering everything that we’ve done.

 

After school ended (I passed all my final exams with almost straight 4’s, ending up with a cumulative GPA of 4.15, with a 4.14 from first semester, and a 4.16 from second semester), we stayed another week in Breck to pack up and get ready for our summer travels. In an unexpected move, we decided to go snowboarding for one last day (in JUNE!) on the hill, so we unpacked all our snowboarding gear (I had packed up and taken apart all our boards), and went out to Arapahoe Basin to snowboard. After a fun day of shredding in the spring slush (and a bit of rain), we headed home and repacked all of our snowboarding gear.

Not much happened between then and when we left, but we did go and visit our friends the Burdick’s (who we know from Team Summit) for a day after Isaac’s final lacrosse tournament. We had a ton of fun with our friend JR, and took his longboards out on the streets and bombed down the streets around his neighborhood.

Well, that was one of the last days before we took off, and when we took off, we were gone. We drove fifteen hours spread over two days on our way down to Austin, TX to see our friends, passing through New Mexico and spending a night in Amarillo. After getting to Austin, we met up with some of our friends at Dick Nichols Park, and then I proceeded to go and hang out with my friend Sage for the rest of the night.

The next day, we went to a trampoline park with all of our friends from Austin, and basically jumped around for a while, before going out to eat with all of them and returning to our old neighborhood for a few minutes before our departure to Dallas.

All of our friends we hung out with in Austin!

We stayed at our grandparent’s house in Dallas for a few days, seeing our cousins again for the first time in a while, and, on our last day in Dallas, went to watch Cars 3 on opening night.

One of my favorite parts of our trip was our stay with our best friends the Halls in Flint, TX, and I had a ton of fun with my friend Noah, building a wooden pinball machine and jumping into their pond at midnight. We stayed for two nights, then left to see our other grandparents in Louisiana.

 

After we left Louisiana, our trip really began. We decided to change our Florida plans and go to Nashville, TN instead to see our relatives and surprise our cousin Oz for his birthday. It was great being back in Nashville again, and it was awesome to see our cousins after not having seen them for a while. We traveled through Kentucky to Virginia after that, and stayed with a lot of our parent’s college friends, who were all hospitable and fun to be around. Isaac even did a Nike Lacrosse camp in Roanoke, VA!

Isaac after his Nike Lacrosse camp

We made a decision to stay in Washington, DC for a while, and it is definitely one of my favorite cities. All the museums, works of art, and government buildings are so close together, it’s easy to just walk, run, or bike around anywhere! We saw some amazing places and things around the city, such as the Declaration of Independence, the Lincoln Memorial, and even got to watch the 4th of July fireworks over the Washington Monument. On the 4th of July, we rented bikes and rode down the streets of DC (the streets being closed for Independence Day), and then watched the fireworks from the Mall.

 

Visiting the Capitol in DC!
At the Lincoln Memorial!

After DC, we headed to Chicago, IL, but not before passing through Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana. We saw a couple of friends in Pittsburgh, and played chess in a city square. Once we got to Chicago, we only stayed two days, but in that time, we walked alongside the river, biked around the city, visited the huge LEGO and Nike stores, and did the typical tourist thing, going to see Cloud Gate/The Bean.

One of our only photos including all five of us

After our short time in Chicago, we left to Champaign, IL for a Nike Tennis Camp. The camp was a week long, and we got in a lot of match play against many different players. It was a fun diversion from our trip, and awesome to just play tennis all day. When we left Champaign after the tennis camp, I realized that our trip was coming to an end. We passed through Kansas City, MO, and Mom and Dad went to see Steve Martin do a comedy show.

From there, we drove through Kansas, where we drove through a huge storm and saw some tornado-looking clouds (luckily, tornadoes didn’t touch down in the part where we were).

And now we’re back in Summit County, where we’re enjoying a month of fun before school starts. I’ve been running every day to prep for Cross Country season, so hopefully I’ll be ready by the time that starts. I’ve been procrastinating publishing this blog post for so long (exactly one month to the day), but it’s finally done! So, thanks for reading!

Heading into the home stretch!

8 days. 8 days until the end of the school year. It seems so close… Yet there’s one big hurdle standing in the way – Finals. I have three of them – in English, math, and science. I took my AP Computer Science exam last Friday, and I think I did well. As for the other three, I need to do well on most of them if I want to finish with a 4.16 GPA. I’m not worried about my math and science finals so much as my English final, but I’ll need to still put in a decent amount of studying for math and science (English is just a class presentation rather than a written final).

I’m already looking ahead to the summer, and looking at our travel plans, I can tell it will most definitely be one of the best summers of my life. We plan to travel to Texas, then scale the east coast before coming back to Colorado in August.

It seems as though the school year has gone on forever, but in actuality it’s only been 9 months. I’ve gotten my morning routine down, waking up at 6 AM, packing my school bag, eating breakfast, and occasionally doing the dishes. Although I wake up at 6 on most days, that doesn’t mean I can’t sleep in. On weekends/holidays I’ve slept in as late as 11:30. It’ll be nice to have summer vacation and not have to wake up that early.

I’m still counting down the days, as I have since school began (On the first day of school, I was like “Only 284 more days of school left!”). I’ll be writing another blog post after school ends reflecting on the past school year, so hopefully that one can make up for this one and its sub-par content (in my opinion).

End of Track Season!

I know I write this blog post every year, but I like it – it’s a way for me to reflect on my track season and all my competitions. It’s not only track season that’s winding down, either. There are less than 15 days left until June 2nd, the last day of school! I can’t wait to be done with Freshman year and begin what seems to be for me the longest awaited summer of my life.

Track season started off with two meets a week, for three weeks. Lots of running, jumping, and a bit of throwing. Getting back into high jump was extremely fun, with me having not done it since we were in Sedona in July. At the first meet of the year in Rifle, I discovered that I needed to start working on my sprinting endurance and speed, as I ran the slowest 200m of my life that day. I didn’t feel that bad about it however, because earlier that day I had tied my PR in long jump at 17’6″.

The second meet in Ft. Collins went around the same. This was my first time high jumping at a varsity meet, and it was… quite an experience. I discovered the bar started at 5’6″, 4 inches taller than my personal best. As you would expect, I failed, and pretty bad at that. But once again, I ended up jumping farther than I’d ever jumped before in long jump, at 17’7.5″, with a last second third jump after I’d failed the first two.

Starting in the 4×100 at Ft. Collins

The rest of the meets up until the league meets were pretty stereotypical. I ran a lot of events, with the 100m, 200m, 4×100, 4×200, 4×400, High Jump, and Long Jump. I improved my 200 time slightly, but it still wasn’t the greatest at around 27 seconds. My high jump was pretty uneventful, as well as all over the place. Sometimes I would jump really well in practice, and then completely fail at a meet, or almost clear 5’4″ and not even come close to clearing 5′ the next meet. Two of the meets ended up getting cancelled, which sucked, but it gave me more time to train for the league meets.

A few weeks ago, I competed in the JV league meet, which was pretty fun as everyone wasn’t as good as at normal meets. I failed to come close to my PR in Long Jump, but still ended up taking 8th and scoring a point for the team. I cleared 5’2″ in High Jump, taking 5th, which I was really stoked about. I also ran the 800m and 200m (back to back!), which was, to sum it up in a word, painful. I ran 2:35 in the 800 (which was fine with me, cause I haven’t ever run it before), and a slow 27.4 in the 200 (I was extremely tired after running the 800).

After the JV league meet, I got prepared for our final big meet of the season, our varisty league championships. I got put in the 4×100, 4×200, High Jump, and Long Jump, and aside from the fun I had from actually competing, the entire experience was awesome. We drove out to Grand Junction, where we stayed the night at a hotel (because this meet was a 2-day meet) and ate out as a team. The first day of the meet, I jumped 17’2.5″ to take 10th overall. As that was the only event I had that day, I basically just slept at our camp and watched other people run. The second day was a bit more eventful. We took last in our relays, which was expected, but I ended up jumping a new high jump PR of 5’3″.

 

At our final meet of the season, I got put in the 100m, 400m, High Jump, and Long Jump. I basically failed in High Jump, only clearing 4’10”. The 100m went really well – I won my heat, in a time of 12.9 seconds. But, the 100m wasn’t my main focus of the day. I had wanted to run the 400 all season, but didn’t get the chance to. My goal was to break 60 seconds, and I tried really hard, but to no avail. I ran a 27-second first 200, then around a 33/34-second second 200 to finish with a time of 60.9 seconds. Regardless of my time, I ended up placing 7th overall, and scoring 2 points for the team.

 

So that’s how my track season went. I realize this post was a lot of numbers, and I keep trying to stop myself from solely writing times, lengths, and heights, but I still have a lot to improve on. I think my track season went really well for Freshman year, and I hope to improve my times greatly next year.

Long Jumping!

Here’s a comparison of my track times from 7th grade to last year to this year (my 7th/8th grade times may not be completely accurate because all the meets were hand-timed, compared to the FAT of this year. There were a few times after the school season where I ran in other meets, and I still count those as part of the previous school season)

2015 Season (7th Grade):

  • 100m: 13.2
  • 200m: 27.9
  • 400m: 68.0
  • High Jump: 5’0″

2016 Season (8th Grade):

  • 100m: 12.4
  • 200m: 26.6
  • 400m: 65.0
  • High Jump: 5’2″
  • Long Jump: 17’6″
  • 1kg Discus: 74’6″

2017 Season (9th Grade):

  • 100m: 12.9
  • 200m: 27.0
  • 400m: 60.9
  • 800m: 2:36
  • High Jump: 5’3″
  • Long Jump: 17’7.5″