Tuesday - Cathi picked me up at work at noon and we drove down to Circus, Circus in Las Vegas. We stayed in a nice room with two queen beds. We went to the buffet and was sorely disappointed. The food wasn't that good, and the price was terrible. ($13 per person regardless of age) Jacob was grossing me out. He had his plate literally piled up with unshelled shrimp. I've deshelled and eaten shrimp before, but not 2 dozen! He was acting like a caveman on the beach. Almost 1/4 of our entire trip budget was wasted on the Circus Circus buffet, but you have to live and learn!
Wednesday - We went to the Las Vegas Convention Center for my 1400 and Under Event. The kids were lively and even Cathi was excited. The kids started running down the huge hall that barely had anyone in it. We saw a security guy with a dog. The dog perked up when it saw the kids and Cathi running (I'm too boring to run for fun). The security guard yelled out "No Running". I wasn't sure if that was because he didn't want his dog to be distracted, or there really is a no running rule like at a swimming pool. I yelled out to Cathi, "No having fun Cath!". There were only three people in my bracket. I won one and lost one. DIDN'T ADVANCE
Thurdsday - After yesterday's event we checked in to the Wyndham Grand Desert Hotel. We were in the presidential suite thanks to Dad and sharing his time share points. The place had three bedrooms a nice kitchen, two bathrooms and a TV in every room. It was funny to hear three TV's in the house all watching Sponge Bob on the same channel with each kid in his own bed. On Thursday Cathi stayed in the hotel with Jacob and Jonas while I took Lucy and Austin. I had the 1600 and Under event and lost all three. I was ticked cause I could have one the last one. I was up 2-0 against this 8 year old chinese kid. I wasn't able to execute and he came back three games in a row. The thing that annoys me is that whenever the kid got a point (whether he earned it, or from a major screw up I made) about 20 people clapped on the sidelines. But when I gave an "in your face" slam on the kid, dead silence. I didn't perceive that I was coming across as the bad guy. I complemented every single player while they were playing on the great shots they made. In fact on the last point with that 8 year old chinese kid I was smiling and laughing because of the huge following he had, and I had none. Lucy was off playing and Austin was somewhere in the huge complex drilling and getting coached by somebody I didn't even know.
But I wasn't overly depressed about the loss, just disappointed.
Friday - Today Austin, Jacob and I played at the same time at 9:00 am. Austin and Jacob played in their 1000 and Under Event and I in the 1500 and Under Event. I couldn't locate my paddle so in a panic I went to one of the booths and bought a $10 yasaka piece of crap. Fortunately the first guy I played wasn't very good and I beat him 3-0 with it. After that match I ran over to see how the other boys were doing. Jacob lost but wast bouncing around as usual. Austin won his match and was happy. I told Austin about my predicament and he said "Dad your paddle is in my bag!". I was upset that he took my paddle out of my bag and put it in his, I told him "You're lucky I wont the match anyway or I would tan your hide." The next guy I played I beat 3-1. The last guy was the top seed guy for our bracket and he beat me 3-0. Austin lost to the top seed in his bracket too. Jacob lost all his games.
Saturday - I played in the 1700 and Under Event. But two of the four didn't show up so I only played one guy. He beat me 3-0 and the tournament was over for me. Austin and Jacob played in the 14 and Under and the 10 and Under events. These were both single elimination events from the start and both of them lost. Austin cried and cried. The entire tournament he would struggle as soon as he was down 4 or 5 points. He would start to get angry and then pout, and then cry. I kept telling him, relax, have fun, don't give in to the dark side, etc... He accused me of being a terrible coach and not telling him how to counter the loops and chops he was getting. I said, Austin as soon as you get control of your emotions, then I'll try to help you with your technical approach. If he can't relax and have fun, then he's missing the point.
Austin - 2 wins, 4 losses
Jacob - 0 wins, 3 losses
Gordon - 3 wins, 6 losses
The actual number of points that we will lose won't be discovered for a few weeks at usatt.org
We all had fun (especially doing non table tennis activities) and enjoyed the vacation.
Sunday - Saturday evening we drove to St. George. We wanted to drive all the way home, but Orbitz wouldn't let us cancel our hotel in St. George without paying for it ($60) so we decided to not waste it and rest in the Americas Best Inn. We went to church at 9:00 am at the Red Hills Chapel (St George 3rd Ward). Since it was the Sunday before Christmas it was 75% singing. After sacrament meeting we drove home and picked up the kids and went home. We learned that the Low family Christmas party was cancelled because Gransie had pneumonia and wasn't doing very well. The kids helped us unpack and we gave them a bath and put them to bed. Cathi and I started wrapping presents like crazy and Cathi got a call from Kris. Gransie had passed away.
We knew that she had wanted to go. The past couple visits I had with her she was not happy about living. I'm sure she is much happier and liberated where she is. We'll miss her sweetness, but know she is enjoying the company of many who are on the other side that we love.