FROM THE BENCH:
Julie Meeks, Athletics Administrator
It’s time for spring sports!
Registration closes soon:
All Things New
I have a laundry list of the “new” that I’m ready for this year – I’m sure you do too! The start of a new year always brings a more focused and deliberate effort to reboot, refresh, restart…to think NEW.
A bit of wisdom I learned a long time ago in college was to ask myself, “Will this (fill in the blank) matter in two weeks? Two months? Two years?” That perspective and approach has served me well. It reduced stress and gave me a healthier outlook. It easily applied everywhere: education to work to parenting to hobbies…
Recognizing that a single experience didn’t define my success in that area was key.
Without question, this applies to athletics too. With our sons in baseball, Brian and I watch them grow in the difficult experience of a tough practice, game, or tournament. But just as valuable as the lesson of “pushing through”, is the lesson of encouraging athletes to also see the constant offerings of new opportunities. Fresh chances are often:
A new inning. A new pitcher. A new at-bat. A new opponent. A new game with an old opponent. A new umpire. A new glove. A new life in the batter’s box with a foul ball…
Replace those baseball terms with your sport’s lingo and it’s the same attitude: there is always an opportunity to try again. To try harder. To do better.
In running, I’ve had my share of tough days, feeling discouraged, or frustrated by injuries. I’ve also trained my body to achieve more than I imagined and found a lifelong healthy activity! My running performance is never defined by a single run, no matter how tough it felt, but by choosing to let go of the lousy run the day before and think NEW.
We have tremendous opportunity to enjoy the NEW in our relationship with Jesus too. I hope you’ll use this fresh start to seek new ways to honor and serve the God who is the same, ultimate foundation He as always been as our Holy Father. The One who loves us so much he sent his son to die for us.
Today is a new day. A new season. A new year. And always a new opportunity to seek Him in all we do!
Merry Christmas & Important December Dates!
Ok y’all, FEAST Athletics is experiencing the trifecta of our three seasons overlapping: fall sports ending, winter sports beginning, and spring sports planning! So much excitement and events going on across ALL 10 programs means it’s another kind of busiest season of the year – not just celebrating holidays!
Check out our December highlights below so you don’t miss important dates – mark your calendars today!
Merry Christmas from FEAST Athletics and as always,
CROSS COUNTRY | FOOTBALL | VOLLEYBALL
- All three sports had incredibly successful seasons! It’s hard to believe it’s over for them and we’re already asking for leadership applications for next year. Interested?
- Become a Coach or Commissioner for Cross Country, Football, or Volleyball in the 2022-23 season – Apply Today!
- Our season is in progress and busy through early February. We love fans! Come cheer us on at our games and tournaments – check out our schedule here!
- December 10-11: The FEAST Basketball Patriot Invitational is December 10-11 at Alamo City Sportsplex – come support your Patriots!
- December 11: FEAST Basketball’s fundraiser raffle ends soon – the drawing will be held on December 11!
- December 9: Thursday, December 9 at 6pm is our “Play Ball!” parent meeting and dinner fundraiser! Come for info, stay for dinner! Eat before or after the 6pm meeting and give us your receipt – FEAST Baseball earns 10-20% back!
- December 9: Registration opens December 9 – watch FEAST Baseball for more info!
- Registration is now open!
- December 13: Practices start Monday, December 13 at San Pedro Alamo City Golf Trail. See FEAST Golf for more info!
- December 8-9: Player assessments for spring will be held December 8-9 at Saint Thomas More School from 4-6:30pm
- December 9: Registration opens December 9 – watch FEAST Softball for more info!
- Registration is now open!
- December 14: Practices start Tuesday, December 14 at Blossom Athletic Center (Tennis Courts). See FEAST Tennis for more info!
TRACK & FIELD
- Registration is now open!
- December 2: Pre-season practices start Tuesday, December 2 at 4:30pm. Please access pre-season practice info on TeamApp (search for FEAST Track and Field) and view”Events” for details.
- January 1: Track practice at 10 am and extra Starting Line Meeting
Learning by Skipping School
My favorite tradition at Thanksgiving was skipping school.
As a mom myself, I now see that “tradition” was actually an organic homeschooling approach, despite being a public-school student. I didn’t just skip classes – I created, and yet unintentionally learned math, science, and life skills all day in the kitchen!
In the old days, my school district didn’t schedule the entire week off from school, just Thanksgiving Day and that Friday. (And quite frankly, that’s just not enough time to prepare for a major food holiday!) So the Wednesday before the grand T-Day, my brother, sister, and I measured, stirred, filled, and baked. And then we repeated. We baked SO. MANY. PIES. We made apple, pumpkin, blueberry, cherry, pecan, plus a variety of cookies, cheesecake, and treats. There were desserts for our desserts!
One of my favorite seasonal treats to make to this day is a sweet and tart, streusel-topped Apple Crisp. This yummy Apple Crisp recipe by The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, is quick, easy, and fun to make with kids! (Use fingers to blend that topping!) Best of all, it’s delicious served warm from the oven with a dollop of whipped cream, or as leftovers cold straight from the fridge for breakfast with a cup of hot coffee!
So, no need to “skip school” like me – our little ones are always learning!
ENJOY and Happy Thanksgiving!
The Downside of an Uptick
Ready or not, here come the holidays! Predictably, many attitudes have a temporary uptick with the festive season: folks feel more generous, voice more gratitude, offer extra patience, maybe tip waitstaff a little better. But when January hits, yup, there’s the slide back to not-so-sweet, old habits.
But wait…doesn’t God want us to be giving, thankful, patient, loving, and kind year-round?
Teaching kids kindness, patience, and gratitude is free. (Parent disclaimer: I know that’s much easier said than done!) One way the Bible tells us to be generous is with our dollars by tithing to the church. But our Almighty God doesn’t need money, so…why does He want us to do it?
Yes, churches have legitimate operating expenses. Remaining tithes should be used to share God’s love and better communities – whatever that looks like. (My family’s church emphasizes members don’t give to the church; we give through the church. Semantics for some, but the impressive programs, missions, and community gifts they organize are testament enough for me.)
But I think the purpose for tithing is based in His love for us. It’s for our hearts to experience the joy of generosity; to wholly experience what “it’s better to give than to receive” really means. Well, what about the kids? Most don’t have tithing savings funds, but it’s not hard to learn what it means to sacrifice for another. That alone is a gift for them to experience: the impact of their generosity, a little commitment, and using their own two hands.
This holiday season, and after the holidays are over, find a cause important to your kids! Help them to make a change and be generous with their time and energy. (Please use discretion and ensure you approve of the charities, organizations, and volunteer opportunities!) A few ideas to get started:
- Offer to do odd jobs for small payments and donate earnings to a favorite charity.
- Love animals? Collect old towels/blankets, pet food for shelters/rescues, or visit the animals!
- Help an elderly neighbor! Rake/bag leaves, clean windows, wash/vacuum their car.
- Drink water! Sacrifice restaurant soda/tea orders, tally up what was saved and donate it.
- Volunteer time! Pick up litter in your neighborhood, church programs, SA Food Bank etc.
- Volunteer goods! Blue Santa, Adopt-a-Family, Boxes of goodies to soldiers etc.
- Ask them – what problem do they wish they could solve? Research ways together to help, now make a plan!
Families and teams know there is strength in numbers, and FEAST Athletics has a LOT of numbers.
Our athletes need meaningful fellowship opportunities so take action, FEAST! We can cover more ground together and turn this brief holiday uptick into a year-round new norm!
Do you shy away from public attention, or thrive in the spotlight?
Would you holler support to a teammate, or give them a quiet compliment after the game? God-given personalities as introverts or extroverts carry over to an athlete’s approach and leadership impact on the court, field, or event.
As He intended, leading with a servant’s heart should always be the focus. Introverts and extroverts ultimately share the same leadership goals: serve others first, use influence positively, be examples of Godly character, be accountable, and expect nothing in return. They are not self-promoting, but God-promoting, and focus on a “win” for the common good. Personality simply dictates their style of leadership!
- INTROVERTED LEADERS
- Quiet leaders in action and independent behavior
- Thoughtful/strategic in approach
- Self-directed, innately motivated
- Introspective, self-contained and prefers predictability
- Able to deeply concentrate and focus for long periods
- Happiest recharging and recovering with solitude
- Need to trust before sharing
- EXTROVERTED LEADERS
- Outspoken, confident and verbally directive leaders
- Likely to think/reason by talking
- Motivated by others
- Outward focus and easily adjusts to change
- Captures attention, exudes energy and natural excitement
- Recharged by social interaction
- Openly trusting and communicative with anyone
Introverted leaders are, well, the strong, silent type.
You know the kind: often performing well and confidently in a quiet manner, and their deliberate and planned approach is a strength. This athlete prefers to allow others’ voices to be heard, while they provide the focused action and results. These athletes let their skills do the talking! Introverted leaders will recognize strong performance or improvement in others, and compliment or encourage a teammate personally. They are also thoughtful and careful with their words; they will never embarrass or publicly shame a teammate.
While introverted leaders are often fantastic at individual sports, such as running or tennis, they are very valuable to team sports by inspiring others with their focus, calm, strategic approach, body language, and performance.
Extroverted leaders actively and loudly cheer on teammates, call plays, and take charge!
They easily make conversation and exude both natural excitement and energy with anyone at the game: players, officials, and fans. These athletes love camaraderie and being part of a team that accomplishes something bigger than themselves. Extroverted leaders are also most likely to plan the after-game celebration! They easily lead the conversation over the meal of event highlights, and easily engage in conversation with compliments for both the team and individual’s achievements.
These leaders are blessings to team programs with their confidence in speaking publicly, energizing others, offering charisma, and welcoming new players.
Whichever personality (or combination) your athlete has, always encourage them to shine in their unique way as they support others, impact their program, share God, and LEAD!
Can I get you a bottle of water?
Stop by the office to see me and chances are that I will ask you this question. I’m genuinely glad to see you, of course, but the truth is I know that most everyone just feels better when they’re hydrated!
Being a former non-water drinker, I spent years dehydrated, but youth kept me from feeling it and, likely, admitting it! With a few decades behind me, I am now a complete convert. Morning coffee will always come first, but I cut back on that second cup when a glass of water instead seemed it had almost the same effect as cup #2; I was more alert and focused, but without the jittery side effects – or crash.
Like you do for your children, I send my sons with an extra water bottle (or two!) for their bat bags and the cooler in my SUV is always stocked. With FEAST fall sports kicking off this month, my friendly reminder (especially for athletes) is that being hydrated or not can quickly affect their performance. Proper hydration before a workout or event (this means days before, not hours!) delays muscle fatigue. It can also reduce the risk of injury by improving energy, mental clarity and focus, stamina, strength, coordination – even reaction time! On the other side of physical activity, post-workout drinks for recovery are just as important! (Be sure to research or ask your doctor what specific replenishment, such as electrolytes, your athlete might need based on their level of exertion and physical demands.)
But keeping it simple, let’s go back to water intake. Often the challenge is that water tastes like, well, not much. And a lack of flavor can make drinking water a task. So, let’s change that!
- Find a water bottle, a special cup or fancy glass you love!
- Dedicate a space in your fridge for a dispenser or pitcher – this makes for easy, cool refills.
- Infuse that water! Drop sliced/chopped pieces of washed fruit, or a simple mix of fruit flavors and let the fruit infuse the water for 1-24 hours. (Refill up to 3x with this fruit.)
These quick tips might be the game-changer your kids (or you) need for flavor. (My favorite combination is lemon, strawberry, and basil!) In a pinch with no fruit handy? Add a heavy splash of juice or lemonade (to taste) instead. Try supplementing that infused water, too, by snacking on seasoned cucumbers (my guys love the spicy chili powders!), celery with a dip or peanut butter, and lots more watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe. Again, the goal is to hydrate consistently every day and in several ways to make it an easy habit.
Get creative or check out this article from TheProduceMoms.com for instructions and recipes. They’re flavorful, awesome and full of pretty ideas to naturally flavor your next glass. Better yet, fill a large dispenser for the whole family!
I hope you’ll take my friendly challenge to boost your family’s water intake – see how much better YOU might feel!
Summer nights are here!
When I was little, summer nights often meant late dinners of simple sandwiches and a cool Italian pasta salad – it was just too hot to cook! Sound familiar? My family still tends to keep summer meals easy or outside on the grill, because, well, there is just too much fun to be had once the blistering sun finally settles down for the day!
For years, my guys venture outside when the sun dips down to play catch. Soon, catch becomes a competition to set a record of caught balls. This leads to a baseball bat and bases appearing, and ultimately tossing a ball becomes a backyard family affair with teams! Other days, a simple game of HORSE evolves into a “best of five” pickup basketball series against neighbors, which then spans the whole week!
But it’s not just my family out there sharing these special nights; the neighborhood changes too: energetic dogs get much-needed walks with families, kids speed around on bikes or scooters, and neighbors wave before tackling overgrown lawns. Psalm 133:1 reminds us, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” I love that a community of life and energy emerges from shade’s safety once the heat of the day relaxes!
Whatever summer nights mean to you, I hope you spend plenty of them outside with your family, friends, and neighbors enjoying the beautiful, breezy evenings together!
So, what’s going on inside at FEAST Athletics? Check out just some of what’s in the works!
Grab your phone, scan the QR code, and let’s connect!
Watch for awesome pictures of our athletes, team celebrations, camps and clinics, seasonal announcements, maybe even office antics…you never know what might pop up in your feed!
FREE JULY SPORTS CAMPS & CLINICS – JOIN IN!
FREE Basketball Skills Clinic – Girls & Boys
Skills clinics are perfect for girls and boys in middle or high school – beginners always welcome! Check out the Manna Basketball article (page 24) or FEAST Basketball for details. Fall registration starts mid-August!
FREE SUMMER RUNNING CAMPS:
Lace-up, grab plenty of water, and join in! See details in the Cross Country article (page 16) or check out FEAST Cross Country! Fall registration starts July 12th!
Complete your form, pay online, get your pass today. That’s it!
Effective for the 2021-22 school year, when you complete your pass payment online with PayPal/credit card, you will get your Patriot Pass ID # immediately upon checkout! (We’re excited too!)
Friendly reminders: the Patriot Pass is $75 annually per family. In-person payments are also still welcome, however please allow up to 2 business days for manual processing after payment is received.
Enjoy your summer and Go Patriots!
Hi there, Patriots!
I’m Julie Meeks, your new Athletics Administrator!
You might already know me: my family and I have been familiar faces at FEAST since 2016. (Have you spotted four brothers who look a lot alike and always wear baseball caps? That handsome crew is probably mine.) So, what’s my story and how did I end up here?
Athletics is an outlet for me. I figure-skated in elementary and joined cross country in 6th grade, when I fell in love with distance running: fresh air deep in my lungs, the peace of outdoors, feelings of freedom, accomplishment, and determination by challenging my personal records. I also played soccer in middle school, while my high school years were mostly spent on a tennis court.
Fast-forward 25 years: as wife to amazing Brian and Mom to four incredible sons, I’ve hung up my skates, cleats, and tennis racquet. (I still run – and always will – as God allows!) But happily, my perspective is now “from the bench” (wink, wink) as #1 fan to our homeschooled boys: Aidan, Andrew, Benjamin, and Daniel. They’re blessed with passion and skill for athletics, and taught me to love baseball: another game of inches, patience, subtlety, and strategy.
In Aidan’s 8th grade year, we were in the tough position of many parents of homeschooled athletes: high school sports require enrollment in a local school. We prayed for direction without being forced to public school. (We’d come too far in homeschooling to give up now!) That summer, we learned of FEAST Athletics. God had provided: FEAST was literally an answer to our prayers.
Four years on, my guys have invaluable Patriot friendships, and play exciting, competitive high school baseball each spring. The benefits of FEAST’s program affect many more than just the players: families and siblings make real connections, building long-term relationships that are both Godly and golden.
I know first-hand important life lessons from athletics: self-confidence and independence, or team success when individuals become a solid, fluid unit working together toward a shared goal. I’ve learned the frustration of injury and the challenges to return to a pre-injury performance level. I understand winning highs and tough losses, but also the importance of doing both with grace, humility, and respect for your opponent.
Competition matters – it’s out there in the real world. And people matter too – a smile goes a long way before and after any game. But most of all, honoring and glorifying Christ matters and is encouraged in all we do. Finding that healthy balance of all three is crucial, and our programs’ volunteer (yes, volunteer!) commissioners and coaches incredibly do just that. THANK YOU to every single one of them!
FEAST Athletics impacts my family in so many positive ways. It’s truly an honor and blessing to join the leadership family so that I may encourage and support your important journey in homeschool athletics.
So, a very warm hello to all: athletes, parents, and volunteers! Please stop by to say hi, grab some M&Ms, and enjoy a friendly place to relax and visit. Chances are, I’ve been there too.
Blessings to all of you and GO PATRIOTS!
Hello FEAST Athletics families!
This article will be just a little different than the ones you have come to expect from me. It was a hard one to write; I’m not going to lie. The time has come for me to leave FEAST. It makes me sad just typing that…
In 2018, I was in a really hard place. My husband had quit his job, and I was working seasonal gigs and wasn’t picked up for the next season. Of all times for this to happen, it was Christmas time, and I was panicking a little! As often as I tell myself, God is in control; sometimes, I struggle to believe it. As I sat in my living room asking God what I was supposed to do, I got an email. An email that changed the course I was on and showed me God’s hand on my life!
It seems unreal to me that I have been involved with FEAST, in some form or fashion, for eight years! It is my hope that in the past two years I have worked for FEAST, that I have made positive changes in the program and impacted the lives of the families here at FEAST. I know that each person that has come into contact with me, through FEAST, has changed me!
I have said before, volunteers are vital to the organization and management of every sport FEAST provides. The time, dedication and energy these volunteers devote are of the utmost importance in keeping the Athletics department running and working well. Without volunteers, FEAST would find it difficult to function, and certain sports would cease to be offered. We are all in agreement that “sports provides an avenue to learn social responsibilities, leadership skills, and confidence for life. Not to mention the healthy lifestyle that is closely associated with sport and physical activity” (Eley & Kirk, 2002). Without individuals stepping up, our programs would not be as incredible as they are, because they would not be possible. Over the last 30 years, God has raised up the leadership that was required for our programs to remain operational.
The level of volunteer participation needs to increase so FEAST can continue to reach homeschooled student-athletes in the South Texas area.
Won’t you please prayerfully consider being a part of what makes FEAST such an amazing organization? We are looking for volunteer coaches, assistant coaches, commissioners, and assistant commissioners for Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Soccer, Softball, Golf, and Track. It is a one-season commitment that needs to be renewed every season. If interested, apply on the FEAST website!
Being a part of FEAST changed my life, the lives of my kids, and can change your life as well! Be blessed, everyone!