Thank You Coach

Today I went through all the posts that I have done on this site and noticed one pretty significant missing component, appreciation and thanks for a lot of people that provided opportunities for many of the posts that I have made. So today, I start a process of trying to rectify that one person at a time.

Yesterday my sister shared a post on Facebook with me that they were making sweatshirts to celebrate Coach Bob Hyland’s 50th year of coaching at St. Marys Springs Academy in Fond du Lac, WI. I was immediately compelled to buy a sweatshirt and write the following post in response to The Springs post, I wrote the following response.

Thank you Coach Hyland for being a great influence on the person I am today, a sentiment that many can most likely share.

It definitely took a lot of living for me to realize all the lessons he was teaching me starting in grade school and was still teaching me the day before I got married more than seven years after high school graduation.

The day before I got married, he personally delivered a small gift that didn’t come close to the value of his delivering it. We spent ten minutes or so talking and he gave me a hug and handshake when he left.

There were more times than not, especially after I got what ended up being a career ending knee injury my junior year, that I did not have appreciation for Coach. This was especially true through a less than spectacular individual performance in my senior year.

Even though we had a 25 game winning streak and I got to play in three state championship games at the Springs, my most vivid memory of playing for him is him breaking a wood clipboard over my helmet and him screaming at me. All I remember of what he said was that it started with, “BALLS OF A BLUEBIRD FEYEN…”

After those four words all I remember was him screaming and all the droplet spray I was getting with him inches away from my face. Most vividly though he never broke eye contact and what I noticed though was the eyes weren’t mad. The eyes told me that he cared.

I’m not sure if what made him stop screaming was that he realized I didn’t hear a thing he said or the fact that I saw through the anger.

The next day he showed up to practice without his wood clipboard. He had taken the hardware from a clipboard and attached it to a clipboard shaped piece of a thick rubber tire.

I never saw him use that clipboard on someones head, but I also know he never yelled at me ever again.

From the ‘Balls of a Bluebird Feyen Day,’ I still made mistakes but he never yelled at me again.Instead, he would always pull me aside and look at me in the eye and talk to me about what had happened and I would usually never make the same mistake twice with the exception of releasing downfield to take out DBs on a draw because there was never anything better than decleating a 100lb DB as a 300lb offensive lineman.

From that day forward, he talked to me just like he did on the day he showed up at my house the day before I got married.

I always thought when he stopped yelling at me that he cared less about me than the other players that he yelled at. However, what I believe since the day he showed up at my house with the gift, I’m sure Carol Hyland [his wife] picked out. I believe he realized after be broke that perfectly good clipboard over my helmet that he could just talk to me or maybe he thought I’d be less distracted by trying to figure out, ‘what does he hate about balls of bluebirds.’

Right or not I carry with me 29 years after playing my last game as a Ledger, the lesson that treating people as individuals is important to reach them in a way they listen. It is something that serves me as a person, a professional and as a youth sports advocate.

Thank you Coach, I’ll wear this sweatshirt with pride.

My reply to St Mary’s Springs Academy Facebook Post on February 25, 2021

Continuing to add to the pride that I will wear the sweatshirt with, Carol and Coach reached out to me the day after I made the post. They thanked me for doing the post and gave me reassurance that the reduction in yelling was something that was the result of Coach’s recognition of my ability to take direction in that way. He reiterated he cares, as I ultimately recognized he did. The message specifically thanked me for the kind and unkind words, which actually made me feel a bit bad for how I worded the post in some areas.

My response to that was simply:

Not a bit of it was meant to be unkind, just the reality of the situation that made me the man I am today. I spend every day working to support better youth sports experiences, founded two hockey related charities, have an amazing wife and two kids that are for the most part polite and respectful. You [Coach and Carol] both gave me opportunities that I would have never had if it weren’t for you. Kids are sometimes just too stupid to recognize the opportunities they are given [when they are given them].

In response to Coach and Carol’s Facebook Message

I’m fortunate that Coach and Carol are both still around and I have been able to keep in touch with them as much as I have, some of the little upside that there is to social media. However, not everyone that has played a big part in your life will be around forever, in fact I have lost some of the greatest influences in my life already.

So please remember, life in the big scheme of things is short. Your parents, your grandparents, your siblings, your teachers, your coaches, your mentors, your bosses, your peers, your friends as just some examples will not always be there. Always be sure to say thank you and know that in almost all cases they care about you and have good intentions.

I’ll leave you with this, my rules as a coach for my players since I started coaching at the kindergarten level have gone four deep and they’re not bad rules for life in general.

  1. Have fun
  2. Be positive in your words and actions towards everyone
  3. Have good sportsmanship (treat everyone with respect)
  4. Hug your mom every chance you get, but especially after every practice and game

To learn more about Coach, here is a podcast where he is interviewed about his 50th year at St Mary’s Springs.

Bob Hyland is the Wisconsin’s all-time leader in career wins as a head coach and his ability to get his St. Mary’s Springs and was named the 2019 Associated Press coach of the year. Coach’s overall record stands at 477-107-2 in 49 seasons with the Ledgers and the program has also finished as state runner-up nine times, putting Springs’ championship game appearance total at 26. Coach is the #3 winningest active coach and #6 all-time winningest coach in high school football history.

Star Wars Bernie Sanders Memes

Because what else are you going to do on a post inauguration Saturday night.

Four more years of this I can deal with.

A collection of Star Wars Inauguration 2021 Bernie Sanders Memes. Just because…

Life isn’t always fun and games, but when you get the opportunity to play, enjoy it.

Broken but Ready to Dance

This weekend something broke. It was me. That damn thing between my ears ain’t right.

Thankfully, I have an amazing support system and I’m taking time this week to try to pull my shit together.

Yeah, there’s a ton of stuff going on. Left my job to pursue my passion for nonprofit work. Established 4 Your Cause, Minnesota Hockey Fights Cancer and SoFeyen 73 to support that direction.


Sports stop, kids in homeschool, society separating each day further to their asinine right and left corners.

F’in politics being used as a argument for defining the corners when in reality morality and social conscience are the domains truly at stake.

Gol Darn money and economics driving what should be social conscience. Where we will come together to do whatever it takes to overcome the immense weight of the almighty dollar.

Me vs You. When us should be the focus.

No sleeping, at least at night. Nodding off all day long to take breaks from my life and shoving aside the things that should be most important.

Increased bickering from familiarity built contempt.

Neighbor against neighbor, because for some reason I’m an ass for having too much focus on others and that is me being selfish and disrespectful. Kids being caught in between putting forth political stances and protests.

People making up things in their own heads about what I may think about them as a person.

I gave up holding grudges a long time ago, because the only person that they hurt was me.

Unfortunately, now I see what people perceive me to be, not only hurting my acceptance.

It’s hurting my kids acceptance and ultimately my anxiety draws conclusions of diminishing opportunity for them in some arenas.

I step further back in the hope that cooler heads may prevail. Unfortunately, I see increasing heads turning away, mean spirited glances.

Minnesota Nice is a bullshit concept. It’s veiled contempt, passive aggressiveness, hate and a lack of willingness to get out of the f’in corners and dance.

I don’t mean fight or argue. I mean dance.

Unwillingness to make a fool of ourselves. Dance while the world is watching. Dance while we come to agreement on what it means to be a human being.

Dance towards a place that we all care about whether someone lives or dies. That life matters, that people matter, that without that as our sole focus that we are lost as a society.

Make no mistake, we are lost. Every single one of us.

I fear we are so lost that we will never find ourselves and what it means to be us.

I know I am lost.

As long as there is one person lost, I believe we are all lost. Because I believe us is a team.

Is there a solution, probably not. It seems like a permanently lost cause.

So, how to move on.

Do not doubt for a second that I will move on.

There is far too much at stake for the life that I share with my family. Of course at the center of that there is my wife and children. However, I am blessed with a very large circle.

The word “circle” has great meaning, because there is no corners to hide in.

And so I say to all of you, my family, let’s dance.

Participation Trophies and Perfect Attendance

I just read in my Twitter feed, “In real life no one gets participation trophies.” It made me think about a current or former NFL football player who wouldn’t let his son have a participation trophy, because trophies are for winners.

My mind continued to wander to a friend of mine who I used to give a hard time to, because she was so proud of her perfect attendance awards that she received from kindergarten all the way through high school.

I teased her because I thought it was silly to be proud of an award for perfect attendance. Who cares?

If you asked me a couple of years ago what I thought about participation trophies, my response would have also been, who cares?

Fast forward to my reaction to whether or not in real life do people get participation trophies, and my response when I saw it. Why not?

There is a quote that goes something like, “80% of life is showing up.”

I think that number is low, but ultimately the most important thing someone can do is show up. I would add a caveat to what it means to show up. It’s not about just being present physically.

Showing up is about being present physically, emotionally and spiritually. It’s about active participation and active learning.

Tonight, I was doing one of my favorite things. Coaching.

Our team was up 12-3 through four innings. They were “locked in.” As they came up to bat in the 5th the heart of our line up was at the plate. Add a few more runs and stop the other team in the bottom and we win by the mercy rule.

Our first batter, one of the most gifted athletes I know gets on base. One of our long ball hitters goes down on a few ugly pitches. Next guy walks. Next guy comes to the plate showboating and he goes down swinging, leaves the field and throws his bat prompting Mom to step in. I then observed what was going on, on the bench.

No one was watching as we got our third out still in the heart of the lineup that had scored 9 of the 12 runs. I walked over and before I let the boys take the field I told them that they needed to get their focus back.

They followed up my request by playing their worst inning in the field all season. 10 runs score and now their down by one. The middle of the order manages to score a single run to tie the game, but instead of a double steal on a passed ball the runners weren’t paying attention leaving a force out to end the inning.

The other team managed to get one across in the bottom of the last inning to win 14-13.

So yes, I think participation trophies are okay. As long as its active participation. We can’t afford to just show up, because if we aren’t focused when we are there everything and everyone will pass us by.

In real life we might not get an actual trophy for participation, but we are surely not going to get rewarded if we don’t show up at all.

Thank You Pastor Karen

I generally do not do research for my personal blog posts, but took a minute (maybe less) for this one to look up the word Pastor.  I had to look it up because I was curious to see if the definition covered being one’s best friend.

The following shows up as the first listing in my extensive research, a Google search on the word Pastor:



noun: pastor; plural noun: pastors
a minister in charge of a Christian church or congregation
verb: pastor; 3rd person present: pastors; past tense: pastored; past participle: pastored; gerund or present participle: pastoring
be pastor of (a church or congregation)

late Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French pastour, from Latin pastor ‘shepherd’, from past- ‘fed, grazed’, from the verb pascere .

I really did expect that friend or best friend would possibly be the primary definition. That is what my five year old daughter, Ruth, continues to call Pastor Karen Bruins when she asks if we are going to go see her new church.  The answer is yes we will go see her.

Our Pastor, Pastor Karen Bruins, left The Well in Rosemount, MN and moved on to Lake Harriet Church in the last couple of weeks. Besides being Ruth’s best friend she did fulfill the origin of the word Pastor as my shepherd in rediscovering my own faith, bringing my 11-year old son closer to God and Jesus and I firmly believe in guiding us to preserve the foundation of our family together during some of our rockiest times.

Karen was preaching the day our family decided to start going to church together to help us deal with a difficult time. While I was definitely pessimistic about the impact attending church would have on us at the time, I am thankful every day that we found Karen at the Rosemount United Methodist Church, as it was known then.

The church as a community provided much needed time for reflection at the time. Reflection is something that I do daily now, but without The Well I doubt that I would be doing it at all.

We were barely known at the church and Graham was not sure about the whole youth programming thing and didn’t want to be away from us so he would go to services with us.  He rarely sat with us though and instead would go sit with Karen in the front row, who at first I am sure hardly knew who this kid was.  Graham never referred to Karen as his best friend like Ruth does, but he did wear his Boston Bruins t-shirt to church more often than any other clothing. Karen had to get a picture with him the first time he wore it and I think he would have taken that picture every time he wore it.

Eventually, Graham did start going to youth programming and actually all the way through to not having the option for youth programming on Sundays and having to go to services with Mom and Dad. We don’t make every Sunday, but we made sure we were there on Karen’s last day.

While we had known for some time about Karen moving on, I chose not to tell Ruth until the night before her last service. Ruth as expected started to cry and the first words she said as she cried was, “But she’s my best friend.”  Once she knew Karen would be close enough to visit and that we would be able to see her before she left she fell asleep.

The following day at service the line to hug Karen was long and given the amount of patience that runs in the whole family, relatively little, we decided to find another time to see Karen.  It required pulling Ruth out of preschool and Graham out of middle school for a couple of hours, but we made it happen.

She sat and talked with the kids and my heart smiled while all the memories flowed.

From day one of me being pessimistic about church, to the hours I spent playing with the kids in the church community at Kids Camp to being invited to be part of the Wednesday night senior high programming.

I thought about Karen sharing all the stories of her kids, her dogs, her husband and all the memories of the babies she talked about baptizing.  I could see her clear as day carrying the baby and handing the baby off to a member of the church community as part of the baptism. Then memories of her baptizing Ruth who made the decision to be baptized. Ruth’s baptism also marked the day that Karen reconfirmed my own baptism that to me was the moment I was shepherded back to God.

The memories of the discussion that led to my reconfirmation led to thinking about the time that I had spent with Karen in her office talking about my faith. I fondly recalled the invitation to share my story of my faith journey with the church. Then the memory of the last time we met with me sitting with her to talk about what I wanted to do with my own career when I was presented with some decisions. I was really looking for Karen to shepherd me down the right path, but instead she brought out what she knew was already in me.

I was then brought back around to her drive down to see me in the hospital in Rochester. She sat with Kim and I and prayed with us. She gave me my prayer blankey that I held on to with all my might as I sweat through the pain and didn’t really have any idea what the rest of my life held.

As I came back to the conversation she was having with Ruth and Graham, part of me was only momentarily inclined to be sad. However, I went immediately for being happy for everything that Karen brought to me and our family. I also know Lake Harriet isn’t that far away. Hugs and pictures soon followed and as we parted ways I thanked her for helping me on my journey, a journey that she reminded me was not over.

I headed back home and wrote the following:


Thank you for being our Pastor, friend (Ruth’s best friend) and for everything that you did to show us the importance of Faith in our lives.  You were there when we needed you and I know that you moving on only marks that you are needed more by someone else.

I value the time that we had you as our Pastor more than words can ever express.  My life, our lives, have meaning beyond what we could have ever imagined because of your caring and guidance.

I hope our continuing journeys will continue to cross paths,

Until Next Time,

Matt Feyen

Ruth and Graham’s Dad

Kim’s Husband

Follower of Jesus Christ re-established April 9, 2018


Being in Control in An Out of Control World

Howard Stern is one of the last people that I would have expected to hear something from that I would immediately want to write down so I would not forget it. However, in an interview with David Letterman he made reference to, “being in control in an out of control world.” While I never have liked the work or personality of either Stern or Letterman, the phrase captivated me.

Even after going through my childhood during the Cold War with frequent nightmares about World War III and the nuclear destruction of the planet, I have never felt that the world was more crazy than it is today. I find myself witnessing almost everything fracturing a little bit everyday. I find myself with more frustration, more negative thoughts and more ill feelings than I ever have before. I find myself at times being in envy of the teapot that gets to let of steam and declare only success as the result of doing so.

No this is not a warning that I am ready to blow my top. It’s more so an explanation of why I don’t have to, because of the concept that Stern pontificated about with Letterman.

By no means would I declare that I have found Zen. I still let out my share of steam, but it’s not a prolonged session that leads to exhaustion and even more frustration. Yes, I’ve had those moments and don’t feel immune to them in the future.

What I have ultimately found is that the context of control is what has allowed me to be much more in control than I ever have been. The moment of realization that I need to put more focus on the things I can influence and less focus on those things that I can’t influence was the start. The penultimate lesson being that the only thing I truly have control over is how I react to and feel about things. Everything else beyond my own emotions is subject to manipulation.

Some might assume that I have chosen to ignore or accept ignorance in order to achieve control. However, it is the exact opposite. My choice to become more in control is a decision to learn, understand and accept things that I can’t influence will persist as they are. And instead focus more on the things I can influence. As a result my emotions toward everything and everyone have changed.

Anger and fear have been replaced by acceptance. Acceptance that is based on based on the knowledge gained through seeking a greater understanding. Understanding of how I can impact, limited or unlimited as it may be.

As a result, my emotions are spent more focused on those things that I know, appreciate and provide me with greater joy.

Do You Believe?

Note: My message is for all in hopes that there might be something you can learn. The posts are written to my children so some of the words at time may be a bit confusing. This all started because I wanted them to understand who therefore Dad is / was. What made me the way I am and how I evolved as a person.

This post has nothing to do with whether or not you believe that there is or is not a God. That is a choice I believe every person is entitled to make their own mind up on that question. I am not pretending to be an authority that can help guide you down that path.

However, if you have been going chronologically through my posts, I have gone through a bit of an evolution over the past six months. I have gone from a person that goes to church to someone who feels part of a family / community that makes up a church. There is something about being told I was close to dying that caused some of this and although I wish it had not have gone that far, a large part of me will always be thankful I did come close to my end.

100% of me is thankful for everything in my life these days. Having my life is a pretty big deal.

I would say the biggest evolution is that while I still have feelings of anger, resentment, discontent and other negative thoughts; I know now that they are not worth holding on to and try to part with them as quickly as I am able. There just doesn’t seem to be as much time as there used to be for that.

Last year, after we got our family pictures done, I was first awestruck by the fact we were able to get the family together for them. It seems so difficult to do with everyone being so busy. I really don’t know how families, more than just ours, can allow themselves to get to the point where they are too busy for one another. I don’t think our immediate family even makes it happen once a year anymore.

When we actually got the photos, the first thing I did was go through each one to find all the pictures of you. Every one of those immediately got marked as a favorite. Every one of those made my heart so happy. Each of you with your cousins, aunts, uncles, nanas and papas; and in every one smiles.

The next thing I did was then to try to figure out which picture of the two of you with you mom and I to print to have in the house, use for our holiday cards and essentially represent us for at least the next year. As I did this, I noticed something else altogether.

What I noticed is that I couldn’t find one where I was really smiling. I couldn’t understand it. I thought I was in a good mood that day. I thought I was smiling in every picture. Some people might look at some of them and say I was smiling. However, from my perspective I looked angry, in almost every one.

I asked your mom what she thought and her response set me back a bit. She essentially said, “You don’t really smile anymore, there’s always something you’re angry about.”

It was at this very moment, I remembered a sermon from church. And this was before getting sick. The sermon was about forgiveness. The overarching message, was that people can not be truly happy until they are able to forgive others. Holding on to negative feelings is what keeps a lot of us from being happy.

As with much of what I do, I jumped in head first to solve what I perceived to be a problem. Several therapy sessions, a bacterial blood infection and hours of reflection later I still have work to do. However, I know I became happier when I recognized the problem and I become happier each time I forgive.

But I still caution to never follow a line of thinking to forgive and forget. In fact, I would argue that it is most important to forgive and remember. Remember that forgiveness is not about your feelings that are released towards others, but more about the feelings that take away from you and who you are and who you want to be. After all who doesn’t want to be happy.

If you truly believe in one thing, believe in being happy.

If you truly believe in being happy, believe in the power that forgiveness is towards being happy.

I am definitely a believer.

Falling into the Well – Part 2 of My Journey

Continuing from my previous post, as Pastor Karen stood in front of the Well family professing that we were there for you, being part of the Well family was important to me. Being a Christian once again had meaning to me. I had fallen into the Well, but felt safer and more comforted than ever.

Previously, I thought the name “The Well” was a bit hokey. Wells to me represented something Timmy fell in to and Lassie had to find someone save him from it, or where a young Bruce Wayne had come to discover the bat as his alter ego. I also felt the only time Wells had meaning is when they were dried up and empty, the discussion around a Well was one of fear, anxiety and despair.

I know now that the Well is a family and while one Well may run dry, the family will always be there. This realization came in the closest moment I ever had to leaving this earth. I knew if that happened the Well would be there for both of you and your mom too.

And while the Well is the name that sits on the signage, websites and pamphlets for our church…And while for the first time in my adult life I answered that I was Methodist instead of having no religious preference when asked at the hospital…

I came to view the Well as what it was meant to me. Family, a connection to a family that a man named Jesus is a part of and a family that is there to care for one another, no matter what.

I also realized that the Well, a United Methodist Church, in Rosemount, MN is a well that embraces all and welcomes the world. And while my extended family may not be members of the well officially…They are all welcome and they all make up the expansive Well that supports all of us.

Especially your Aunt Amy, Aunt Crystal and Aunt Hope have been an important member of our well as we have gone through the trials of the last six months.

I have fallen into the Well, but I have no feelings of fear, anxiety or despair. I have feelings of comfort, hope and a future. Check that, I’ll always have anxiety, but I like to think we’re becoming better friends.

I will not be trying to escape, to crawl out of the Well. I will not be telling people they need to jump in, because I’m not that guy…yet. But I want everyone to know it is there.

Yes, 2017 was a crap sandwich and we’re almost a third of the way through 2018 and I’m two weeks post surgery to wrap up the damage to my body that started last Thanksgiving.

But a week after Easter, I finally had my Thanksgiving dinner. We were celebrating Ruth’s baptism, but it was Thanksgiving with all the fixings that were served as the meal. I couldn’t have been more thankful about how far we have come. I couldn’t have been more thankful of the family that came to celebrate.

The next day I was headed into surgery, and I was scared from the moment the decided surgery was the path. And because I felt so had strayed so far from the church I asked about being baptized. I was not rebaptized,j but following Ruth’s baptism, I was given the gift of reaffirmation of my baptism. The fear I felt did not disappear, but I did feel calmed.

As I was being sedated and falling asleep for surgery, I saw the two of you with your mom as if you were standing with me and then as I drifted off, I felt like I was being submerged in water. Then I realized I was in the Well and I would be safe.

I am two weeks from getting up for the first time since surgery. That day, I went three feet from my bed to my chair. Today, I walked about a quarter mile around our neighborhood, passing so many members of our Well. I am so blessed, and look forward to our continued adventures.

My Race Calendar and Results

In 2010, I made the decision to get healthy and was inspired by Aunt Hope, Aunt Lisa, and Uncle Mike to run my first 5k. My adventure in racing was further inspired by Richard Singletary who inspired me to do my first sprint triathlon. I extended all the way to half marathons, but my hips decided I was done running and so my race calendar and results came to an unexpected end in 2015.

I still strive to be healthier, but am working to find other ways to do it.  You guys definitely keep me going.


  1. Buffalo Sprint Triathlon – Swim (1/3 mile) 15:19; Transition 4:33; Bike (12.01 mile) 58:00; Transition 2:11; Run (3.1 mile) 45:02; Total 2:05:04


  1. Buffalo Sprint Triathlon – Swim (1/4 mile) 13:03; Transition 3:52; Bike (13.3 mile) 57:07; Transition 2:34; Run (3 mile) 43:29; Total 2:00:02
  2. St Cloud Triathlon – Swim (1/3 mile) 17:34; Transition 3:07; Bike (15 mile) 1:01:32; Transition (2:25); Run (3.1 mile) 42:41; Total 2:06:58
  3. Clearwater Triathlon – Swim (.46 mile) 20:16; Transition 2:00; Bike (14.3 mile) 53:18; Transition (3:00); Run (3.1 mile) 44:02; Total 2:02:32
  4. Big Lake Triathlon – Swim (1/3 mile) 15:53; Transition 2:05; Bike (15 mile) 52:08; Transition 2:26; Run (3.1 mile) 42:41; Total 1:55:11
  5. Lake Marion Triathlon – Swim (1/4 mile) 10:53; Transition 4:11; Bike (17.3 mile) 1:07:06; Transition 2:01; Run (3.1 mile) 43:43; Total 2:07:53


  1. Madison Half Marathon – 3:03:43
  2. Buffalo Sprint Triathlon – Swim (1/4 mile) 11:37; Transition 4:19; Bike (13.3 mile) 52:40; Transition 2:44; Run (3 mile) 41:02; Total 1:52:20
  3. Wisconsin Triterium Triathlon – Swim (1/3 mile) 16:35; Transition 3:55; Bike (11 mile) 49:09; Transition 3:18; Run (3.1 mile) 42:32; Total 1:55:28
  4. Big Lake Triathlon – Swim (1/3 mile) 14:34; Transition 2:29; Bike (15 mile) 51:45; Transition 1:47; Run (3.1 mile) 42:52; Total 1:53:25
  5. Rockford River Run 5k – 37:41 (Big Brother’s First 5K – He Kicked My Butt)
  6. Lake Marion Triathlon – Swim (1/4 mile) 11:14; Transition 3:16; Bike (17.3 mile ) 1:06:48; Transition 1:32; Run (3.1 mile) 45:09; Total 2:07:58
  7. Border Battle Bolt 1-Mile (Fun Run No Time)
  8. Turkey Trot 2-Mile (Fun Run No Time)


  1. Minnesota Timberwolves Runnin’ with the Wolves 5k – 32:50
  2. Madison Half Marathon – 2:53:24
  3. Buffalo Sprint Triathlon – Swim (1/4 mile) 10:44; Transition 4:08; Bike (13.3 mile) 46:12; Transition 2:56; Run (3 mile) 36:46; Total 1:40:44
  4. Wisconsin Triterium Triathlon – Swim (1/3 mile) 11:23; Transition 3:46; Bike (11 mile + chain repair) 46:31; Transition 3:05; Run (3.1 mile) 39:23; Total 1:44:06
  5. Ripon Medical Center Triathlon – Swim (.5 k) 16:10; Transition 1:56; Bike (15 mile ) 1:03:41; Transition 1:57; Run (3.1 mile) 40:02; Total 2:03:44
  6. Rockford River Run 5k – 33:10
  7. Lake Marion Triathlon – Swim (1/4 mile) 11:08; Transition 2:01; Bike (17.3 mile) 1:00:38; Transition 4:22; Run (3.1 mile) 38:46; Total 1:56:53
  8. Turkey Trot 2mile – No Time (Fun Run – Your first 2-mile race)


  1. Madison Quarter Marathon – 55:16
  2. Buffalo Sprint Triathlon – No Time (DNF on the Swim)
  3. North Mankato Sprint Triathlon – Swim (1/4 mile) 10:31; Transition 2:41; Bike (13 mile) 50:46; Transition 0:54; Run (4 mile) 39:24; Total 1:44:14
  4. Leprechaun Days 4-mile – No time (Fun Run)
  5. The One Last Tri – Swim (600 yards) 10:04; Transition 3:04; Bike (14.25 mile) 56:54; Transition 1:10; Run (3.1 mile) 36:59; Total 1:48:10
  6. Turkey Trot 2-mile – No Time (Fun Run)


  1. Rockford River Days 5k– 32:05 (My First Event)
  2. Dave Huffman Memorial 5k – 32:03
  3. Autumn Woods Classic 5k – 33:29 (Kim’s First Event)
  4. Jack-O-Lantern 5k – 29:55

Part One: My Path to The Well

On Sunday, January 28, 2018; I stood in front of a town hall meeting and shared my story that brought me to The Well. I was given two to three minutes, probably took five to ten and I still did not even really touch on all the details of what brought me to deliver that message.  I decided that for both of you (and all others interested) that I would share in more detail here.

The Well is a United Methodist Church, and my journey to The Well is about as unlikely an event as any in my life.

Until three years ago; the thought that I would attend church, much less become an engaged and grateful member of one, was the furthest thing from my mind.

However, your mom said I could join the three of you at church if I wanted to on one Sunday morning and that was the start of my journey to The Well. A journey that I know today will never end.

Why was it unlikely?

It had been more than 30 years since I attended Church on a regular basis. I had never considered attending Church on a regular basis during that 30 plus years. In fact, Church had become to me a place where you went for weddings, funerals, baptisms, etc. My memories of Church had become ones of annoyance, boredom and one specific event that started my 30 plus year hiatus.

My memories of that event, like many from long ago, are vivid. The words clear in my head as if they happened yesterday, which interestingly enough I am more likely to forget things that happened yesterday. The words echoed from downstairs and down the hall to my bedroom where I was barely awake. “Get out of (expletive) bed it’s time to go to (expletive) Church.”

Being 13 at the time and already had grown out of my dads’ clothes I had found my voice and responded, “I’m not going to (expletive) Church you (expletive) hypocrite.”

I immediately popped out of bed, locked the door and crawled under my bed. I awaited the door to be blown off the hinges and the dragging of me kicking and screaming to another Sunday service. Not even a footstep towards my room followed and only silence continued to echo with some occasional mumbling to my younger brother and sister and then the door closing as the two of them along with Dad left without me.

I had won. I was never asked to go to Church again in any manner outside of weddings, funerals, baptisms, etc.

Let me stop for a moment to share something I hope both of you by the time you read this know. Your Papa, my Dad, has changed so much and life is so different from those days. If I think about all he did back then just to make sure we survived as a very broken family, I am in awe of the way he handled that specific situation. I truly am in awe of how much you both mean to him and know how much he means to you today.

So fast forward almost 30 years and two face masks and a kicking incident in a youth football game.  Big brother was the offender.

The coach on the first offense sits you out a series, the second a full quarter and the third the rest of the game. In response you storm off intent on walking home. Your coach is yelling at you to come back and your mom heads you off and makes you come back. Your coach talks to you after the game about this game and similar incidents from previous games. The coach, with direction from the league director benches you for the next game.

I was the coach and the conflict, as much as we all tried, did not stay on the field. Our house was flooded with anger, resentment, anxiety and today; as I write this; the same type of silence and feelings I had as I laid under my bed when I decided I was going to take a stand (under my bed) and not go to Church.

The day after you served your suspension or maybe the week before, you’re Mom said to me as I laid in bed on a Sunday morning. “We’re going to Church, you can come if you want to.”

I knew it really wasn’t an option, unless I wanted to add to the negative energy that was in all of us. Well maybe not little sister who was just about one and was happy about almost everything.

So we all went. Ruth to the nursery, Graham and the rest of us to the service.

However, it was odd from the beginning. We walked past the traditional church with the altar, pews, and typical trappings. We found ourselves walking through a cafeteria where people of all ages were eating treats and the smell of coffee and sound of conversation filled the air. We walked into a gymnasium filled with chairs a up on the stage there was drummer, a guitarist, a pianist, a tambourine player and a choir decked out in not robes, but normal clothes.

We find our seats and then we are asked to stand. The music was not what I associated with Church, the members of the congregation were moving to the music and singing and clapping. I still wasn’t sold. The free coffee mug as a new attendee that we got didn’t close the deal either.

We got home and nothing really changed. The experiment had failed and Sunday’s would be mine to focus on football once again.

Then the following Sunday we went again. This time Graham went with all the kids to join in kids activities and Mom and I were alone in the service.

And we went again the next Sunday and Graham stayed and Ruth didn’t want to go to the nursery and we were all together. I had lost football Sundays and somehow at this point as we all sat together it was okay. I had no idea why, but it was okay.

Hockey season started and we didn’t make it to church every Sunday, but we still went when we could. I don’t remember the sequence of events that followed, but the events were formative and kept us coming back.

  • Graham started randomly attending service or going with the kids to do the kids activities. When he stayed he would hang out with Pastor Karen at times in the front row. When he went with the kids we picked him up, we kept hearing how well spoken and thoughtful he was.
  • Ruth randomly attended service and went to the nursery. She randomly would go with Graham to be by Pastor Karen when she attended service and at other times played with the silly putty, coloring books and other random items in the activity bag.
  • Then there was the first moment that placed me on my personal path to the well. At the end of a service, Pastor Karen would usually go to the back of Church and say her final words from the back. On this day she stayed up front and asked Graham and Ruth to join her. She simply said, “If you have any question about why we are here, we are here for these kids.”

That was the first moment I became engaged in a service. I also realized at that moment just how much had changed in our lives.

To be continued…

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