Dear Mountain Mama,The government shut downs cost my friend a month-long rafting trip down the Grand Canyon. I can barely mention anything west of the Mississippi without him looking a bit teary-eyed. He worked hard all summer to save money and looked forward experiencing a new river with new friends.Any ideas on how to cheer him up?Yours,Caring Friend————————————————————————–Dear Caring Friend,Quick, get that man on the river. It sounds like your friend got trapped in to-do lists for too long, a world where external measures of success like paychecks, promotions, first descents, and PRs can define who we are.Spending time on the river reminds us that we are greater than the sum of our accomplishments. We are creatures of nature, and the river brings us back into the flow of the outdoors. The simplicity of the routine of morning chores, day-long paddles, and communal meal preparation help us become present in the day unfolding in front of us.Settling into river time means allowing ourselves to drift with the current. When we sit by the side of the river and simply marvel at the light dancing from one wave to the next, we allow our minds to slow down. Giving ourselves permission to do nothing at all stirs our imaginations. The irony is that we live in a world that values an eternally jam-packed calendar, but truly unwinding can we expand ourselves in new directions.Caring Friend, you don’t have to take your friend to an exotic river to experience the magic of the water. Just get him wet. We’re lucky to live in a place where spending the night riverside is accessible.Two local options to check out are the Chattooga River’s 19-mile long water trail and the French Broad River Paddle Trail. Camping is allowed anywhere along the Chattooga River as long as campsites are 50 feet from any streams or trails and at least a quarter-mile from any road. The are several designated campsites with fire rings located riverside. The paddle-in campsites along the French Broad River can be reserved online, the campsites clearly marked with signs along the paddle trail.Caring Friend, plan an overnight river trip. Get you and your friend off the digital treadmill and back to nature.Paddle On,Mountain Mama
…another FIFA intervention will be suspensionBy: Ras WadadaTHE current stalemate existing within the ‘Elite family’ of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) is in need of immediate dialogue and without a doubt, some compromising among the chief stakeholders of the ‘Beautiful Game’ before it gets real ugly.It is not a year as yet since the present GFF’s executives were elected to govern the sport after just over one year of a FIFA appointed Normalization Committee’s (NC) reign.The narrow victory by Wayne Forde’s Team Integrity over Team Unity, in what is considered the most fairly contested elections in the history of the GFF, was disappointing and a bitter taste to some that perhaps still lingers. This might very well be the root cause of this current imbroglio.The sport of football, like any other sport, is governed by and must be guided by its rules and regulations without partiality. No one should be above the rules or the Sport, but here in Guyana we have inherited a culture of self-satisfaction and very little regard for guidelines.Since assuming office, it is obvious that this present Executive is striving to change that kind of mentality in order to bring the ‘Beautiful Game’ to a quality and marketable product that is well respected and supported.I often say whatever we do off the pitch can be mirrored by an on-field action and in this instance it is reflective of a game situation where the two sides think the Referee has made a wrong call that can perhaps determine the outcome of the game. In the real game scenario,the two sides will respect the referee’s decision and continue playing for the ‘good of the game’. Of course there have been very few occasions where either side or both would ignore the referee’s judgement call;thereby bringing the game into disrepute.At this juncture,Guyana can ill-afford the latter because it will mean an instant two year suspension and all parties will feel it since a lot of money have been invested by teams. More importantly, the long awaited GOAL project, which has just begun, will be halted and the big increase of FIFA’s annual grant we will not have access to.In this off-the-pitch game, the Constitution of the GFF is the referee,and it must be respected as we ‘bury the hatchet’ for the ’good of the game’; and in a positive spirit of the Game we move forward and not backward.There must be urgent dialogue and compromise if we truly love the “Beautiful Game,’ and do mean well for the family.
There are certain intangibles a coach expects of their team’s captain on the field.For Wisconsin head coach John Trask, his captain – senior midfielder Drew Conner – has all the necessary characteristics that make up a great leader on the pitch.“Quality, heart, work-rate,” Trask said. “[Conner]’s got a great engine, a special engine in comparison to most college players.”Conner, a Cary, Illinois native, has had a difficult start to the season, Trask said, but that doesn’t negate Conner’s influence in the UW program during his four seasons in Madison.“[Conner] came in and had an immediate impact as a freshman,” Trask said. “He was a part of a very good team in 2013, and an integral part. It wasn’t like he was a young member of the team. He was a big key.”Conner admits that his career has been up and down, especially in the beginning of this season, but he has his sights set on what the team can make happen during the second half of the season.The role Conner played during his freshman season earned him the honor of a spot on the 2012 Big Ten All-Freshman team due to his two goals, one assist and domineering work ethic in the midfield.The Wisconsin captain has picked up other accolades during his time at UW. Following a one goal, seven assist sophomore season, Conner was selected to the Second-Team All-Big Ten. Conner was also ranked the 73rd best player in the nation by TopDrawerSoccer for his junior year.Coming into the 2015 campaign, and Conner’s senior season, TopDrawerSoccer rated him the 17th best player in the Big Ten.Perhaps the most impressive feat of Conner’s Wisconsin career is that he has started every game of every season. That’s rare for mosts collegiate soccer players, but not for one with professional aspirations like Conner, Trask said.“We feel good about [Conner]’s opportunities to move on in the game to the next level, whether it’s Major League Soccer or potentially overseas,” he said. “There are parts of his game we’d like to continue to see him move forward, but he’s still got over half a season left with us.”Conner has continued maturing during his time at Wisconsin, and Trask said the coaches are still figuring out the best way to utilize his talents while also allowing Conner to continue his development as a player.Something that really helped Conner in his progression as a player was training with professional players during the summer.“I think it did more for my confidence than anything else,” Conner said. “The pro game is definitely just as demanding on the mental side of the game as it is the physical.”While Conner continues his development, he’s also had to provide guidance to the younger guys on the team. Trask says Conner’s dedication to prepare, especially by being the most fit player on the team, sets an example for the rest of the players, both young and old, of how to take care of their business on the pitch.Leadership one of Conner’s strongest traits for men’s soccer teamAs of late, Wisconsin men’s soccer head coach John Trask has gotten some big-time names to come play for him Read…“[Conner] sets the standard on things like the beep test, our fitness test,” Trask said. “He has a hunger to be a good player and what that takes and how he goes about it.”Conner said he’s been trying to get the younger players to be more involved and instill confidence in them, which former UW standouts A.J. Cochran and Tomislav Zadro did with him during his freshman and sophomore years.“I think recently it’s just been trying to get certain guys to feel out the game and sense when they need to take over and get on the ball,” Conner said. “Sometimes as a younger player, you hesitate to get involved when things don’t go perfectly from the start.”The senior midfielder is grateful to have had the opportunity to wear the captain’s armband for the Cardinal and White, but Conner acknowledged that he couldn’t have gotten to be where he is today without some help.“I could never find it alone,” Conner said. “Adam [Lauko] and Carl [Schneider] have done awesome, not to mention many of the other upperclassmen who have stepped up.”Conner was a key piece in the 2013 team that made a magical run into the NCAA tournament. But even though he said it was a great ride during his second year, there’s been one game that has been imprinted into the captain’s memory.Daniels: For Badger men’s soccer, it’s mission accomplishedFor the 13 seniors on the Wisconsin men’s soccer team, the last four years had been building to this moment. Read…“The Rutgers overtime win this season,” Conner said. “That was just ridiculous.”With a little over half of the season left, there’s still time for Conner to leave a significant impact on the Wisconsin soccer program, and Trask has been pleased with what one of his first high-end recruits has done on the pitch for the Badgers.“[Conner’s] had a great career for us,” Trask said. “Now we’re hoping for a lot more this next half-year.”