Tuesday, January 23, 2007

But it's a dry cold

Let me tell ya, there's just something about waking up, taking a nice warm shower, and then looking at the outdoor thermometer while you're getting dressed and seeing -21.7 that makes walking out the front door in the morning a little more daunting. But alas, here I am, subbing for one of the high school teachers today, which gives me a little time here and there (not to mention a solid internet connection) with which to compose a blog entry. Lucky you.

This past weekend was really interesting. It started out with lots and lots of basketball, as our school was hosting a few other high school and junior high teams for some games. Playing other schools here necessarily means traveling by plane and all the logistics that go along with it, so it makes sense to have a bunch of teams fly to one host and all play each other to get as many games in as possible. This makes for a tournament-like atmosphere, and while it's a lot of fun, it's pretty stressful as well...not only for the hosting school, but for all the people traveling as well.

Basketball is very popular up here, as I think I've mentioned before. Mostly, I think, because there are not a whole lot of sports that can be played indoors year-round. But whatever reason, games are a big deal in the village. Don't believe me? This is a picture of the "parking lot" in front of the school Saturday morning...

Anyways, the games were fun. My girls didn't do very well, result-wise...but I'm pretty proud of most of them anyway. They played hard and improved as the games went on, and that's about all you can hope for. Especially when you're playing a ranked team that's got a baby Shaq...but that's a whole other story. And even with some teams playing twice, all the games were done and teams cleared out and off to the airstrip by early Saturday afternoon, which left the rest of the weekend for some non-school fun.

A neighbor, co-worker, and hella-cool guy had asked me earlier in the week if I'd be interested in helping out with his dog team. Of course I said I would, as I'd never even seen anyone mushing, much less get to help, so he called me Saturday after basketball was over and we headed out. Seeing the work it was dealing with the 7 or 8 dogs he has...not only the harnessing and stringing up but the daily feeding and care, etc...I can't imagine how people have 20- or 30-dog teams. It's insane. He's the "dean of students" at the school and a Site Administrator in training, so I mused to him while he was attempting to hook up one of the dogs while trying to keep half a dozen others from chewing their harnesses or each other, that I didn't know whether to think that the dogs helped prepare him for dealing with students or the other way around.

Once we got going, it was a lot of fun. I rode ahead of the team a ways on my snowmobile to make sure they had a trail to follow and to help call them in the right direction if they got headed off the wrong way. It was actually a pretty warm weekend, in the 20s most of the time, which was nice for riding, but I think the dogs would have liked it a little colder. One kept getting balls of ice in the webbing of her feet...it's amazing the kinds of conditions these animals are evolved and bred for. I'm sure they're happy as clams out there in their boxes right now. But yeah, he took them out for a 10 mile run Saturday and then again for 6 miles in another direction on Sunday. They were pretty tired out by the last part of the second trip, but I'm sure they were happy to be out doing what they do.

In mushing-related news, the Kuskokwim 300 was this weekend too, in and around nearby Bethel...good stuff, good stuff. That means the Iditarod can't be too far away! You know, I think I could totally get into this dogsledding thing...

1 comment:

Melissa B. said...

Shaun! I am very jealous that you got to participate in a dog sledding adventure! Think Boxers could learn to do that? Right. Love reading your posts!!! :) Stay warm!

Mel