Saturday, October 26, 2013

Celebrating the XC Season

This Thursday, I had the privilege of hosting the BFA cross-country team for an end-of-the-season celebration dinner at my home. Since many of the runners are dorm students and are used to eating food catered from Sodexo every weekday evening, I thought it might be nice to change things up for them and cook a special homemade meal. Also, instead of bringing the food to the school and eating in the cafeteria, I thought that it would be nice to enjoy the warm and “homey” feeling of the Garni House.
After receiving approval from my roommates (when you live with six other women, it’s pretty important to get “house approval” before inviting 12 additional people for dinner…), I went ahead and invited the team. I was now left with two major decisions: what to cook and how much to cook! For any of you who have ever hosted dinner parties, you probably know that one of the biggest challenges is planning how much food to make. This decision can be particularly difficult when the majority of the party are hungry teenage athletes who have just gotten back from a long day at school.

The second big challenge is deciding what to cook. I wanted it to be something fairly easy, fairly inexpensive, fairly healthy, and super delicious, but I also wanted it to be something that all teenagers like to eat. So, of course, I fell back on the standard “go-to” dish easily found at any gathering of runners—pasta. However, instead of boring ‘ole spaghetti, I decided that I would mix up a batch of homemade baked ziti. I had to write home first for mom’s recipe. (Thanks Mom!)

With the culinary assistance of Michelle (Head Coach Hunter’s wife), I was able to whip up a stellar batch of cheesy, saucy, noodley goodness (much enjoyed by all the runners) as well as some tantalizing sides like salad, bread, and sautéed zucchini. Jesse (our awesome volunteer assistant coach and my running buddy here at BFA) brought a delicious chocolate cake…which ended up being a chocolate “lava” cake because of complications with our German oven. ;) Still tasted delicious, by the way.

Enjoying dinner!
During dinner, we went around the table and each of the runners and coaches took turns sharing their favorite memories of the season. In typical high school fashion, responses ranged anywhere from the sentimental (building strong friendships) to the practical (eating nachos at Taco Bell). At the conclusion of dinner, the runners gathered in the living room for a special end-of-season awards ceremony.

XC girls admiring the awards
Coach Hunter and I gave out three awards. The first two awards—the “Perseverance Award” for the ability to press on in the midst of challenges and the “MVP Award” for outstanding athleticism, leadership, and contribution to the team—were voted on by fellow team members. The third and final award—the Falcon Award for outstanding dedication, leadership, commitment, positive attitude, and Christ-like example—was solely the decision of the coaches.

XC guys also excited about the awards
 In addition to the awards, each team member also received their very own BFA XC team T-shirt. The back of the shirt was decorated with the exotic nicknames we had invented during the season, such as “Leaf Catcher Supreme, Sausenford, Sunshine, The Lost Boys, Captain, and Canadian Fairy.” There’s a story behind each of those names, I promise!

Yay! New T-shirts! :)
 Altogether it was an awesome time of fellowship and celebration. I am looking forward to next season and all the new adventures and memories that will come with it!

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