Gabe Gregoire

Gabe Gregoire

Time to Get Moving

An object at rest will tend to remain at rest, and an object in motion will tend to remain in motion. The law of inertia. It’s physics, but also an apt metaphor for physical fitness. As in, “Hey, we’ve been talking about getting exercise. Wanna go for a walk?” “Nah. Too much inertia.” And it’s easy to tell ourselves that acknowledging our lack of motivation absolves us of the obligation we feel to get out there. But something nags at us. It’s our bodies, saying, “Please, please!” And so, to be sure we don’t attempt something like Tuff Mudder our first time out, that means it’s time for some low-impact athletics.

 

Freeport Trails not only has that, but also offers incentives to get you and your family doing that little bit of hiking, with the Freeport Trail Challenge. This program is ongoing through the end of October. Here’s the idea: Get a ‘passport’ at either the Freeport Town Hall (30 Main St) or the Community Center (53 Depot St). Then, and this is where the overcoming your inertia comes in, get walking on four trails in Freeport (Field Estuary, Leon Gorman Park, Stonewood Trail to Sayles Woods, and Tidebrook). Record your hikes in your passport or on Facebook or Instragram, and once you’ve done all four trails, kids get a prize and adults are entered in a drawing for more substantial prizes. Sort of like saying to yourself, “Okay, if I jog a mile, I can pick up some Chunky Monkey on the way back.” But you’ll also be part of the community effort.

 

We’re not saying that anyone will necessarily be clambering over twenty-foot walls by this time next year. But that nagging “I should move my body” feeling (and bless readers to whom that's a distant memory) might be replaced for a while by a few endorphins.

 

Early season leaf-peeping on foot, anyone?

 

http://freeportconservationtrust.org/new-and-noteworthy/2017-freeport-trail-challenge-get-outside-with-friends-and-family/

 

  • Published in Sports

Bouncers Welcome

Everybody remembers the excitement we felt as children when entry into the most fun place on earth was imminent. It could have been located within a state or county fair, or even in a well-off friend’s back yard. What is that place? The gravity-defying, backflip-trying bouncy house, of course. Parents watching their kids literally jump for joy in those inflatable fun zones have been known to shake their heads and chuckle, reminiscing on a time with little or no worry.

 

That’s the kind of family fun that can be had at Maine’s Great Inflatable Race, to be held at the Brunswick Landing (29 Burbank Ave) on Saturday, September 30 starting at 9 a.m. Imagine a timed fun run interspersed with gigantic inflatable obstacles akin to bouncy houses, and you have the idea. Tickets are $25 for general admittance and $40 for the VIP version, which grants access to a few extra inflatables at the end of the race and some extra swag. All runners do receive a T-shirt, a wristband, and more. Click or tap on http://www.thegreatinflatablerace.com/maine to make your purchase.

 

Here’s a quick rundown: Adults and children of all sizes will be supporting Seeds of Independence, an organization that leads and mentors young people through the choppy waters of adolescence, equipping them to become responsible and productive young adults. All you have to do is run, bounce and laugh your way through the course, get your medal, take advantage of a great photo op, and go home with a dinner-table “Remember the time?” memory that will not fade for quite awhile. The course is billed as “The Bounciest Fun Run on Earth” and all indications are that there are few worthy competitors for the title. So go test out a regret-free, high-flying family adventure.

  • Published in Kids

Acknowledge Your Inner Cowboy

How prone to injury are you in your chosen athletic pursuit? A runner might sprain an ankle. A football player might get a concussion. Those old enough to remember Greg Louganis know that even platform divers are not exempt. What if, in your sport, there was a certain chance at every meet that a 1,500-pound bull would stomp his hoof on the base of your spine from above?

Professional bull riders may ride 200 times a year, and even the best average an injury every ten to twenty rides. Most of the time, it’s a ‘minor’ injury like a few broken ribs or a torn ligament. But the worst has happened. And we all have to admit it, like when we watch hockey for the fights, the element of danger adds to the excitement of being a spectator, even if you’re rooting for the bull and his right to a peaceful pasture.

That’s not the only reason to go to the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Velocity Tour at the Cross Insurance Arena (1 Civic Center Sq) on Friday and Saturday, September 22 and 23. You’ll want to get your tickets (ranging from $15 to $125) at http://www.crossarenaportland.com/events/pbr_real_time_velocity_tour_23, because you’ll also get to see the physical courage, the razor-sharp reflexes, the kind of technique and finesse that come from lifelong training, and the sheer athleticism of the riders. And they need every ounce. Riding-circuit bulls are specifically bred and conditioned to throw riders off their backs. And breeders are working with bovine bloodlines that have been around for ages. Especially in the last ten years, bulls have grown bigger, stronger, and meaner than ever before.

We certainly don’t wish any mishaps on the PBR riders or the bulls. But if you want to vicariously put yourself on the back of the bucking beast and hold your breath thinking “Hold on, hold on!” on behalf of your favorite rodeo athlete, the chance doesn’t come very often for a Mainer. Avail yourself of it. Take the bull by the horns.


 Gabe can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Published in Sports

Better Safe than Sorry

You can see it in the fascination on their faces as an emergency vehicle wails by, and in their choices of toy cars, one of which almost always is an ambulance, police car, or fire engine, if not all three. They ask you what the people in the vehicles are doing and are satisfied that certain adults do heroic things for work. Kids love emergency vehicles.

The folks at Westbrook Public Safety well understand this, and it’s part of the reason that the Westbrook Kids’ Safety Day is going into its fifth year, this time at the Hannaford/SBSI parking lot at 2 Hannaford Drive, Westbrook, on Saturday, September 16 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Free refreshments will be served.

We recommend showing up early to the Safety Day, since the first 200 attendees receive a free multi-sport helmet from Michael T. Goulet Traumatic Brain Injury and Epilepsy Foundation, with fitting and safety check included. Bring the kids’ bikes, too. They’ll want to participate in the Bike Rodeo, a clinic to teach them the skills and precautions to safely ride a bicycle. The Bicycle Coalition of Maine will do free basic bike tune-ups as well. Then let the youngsters loose to investigate the mock crime scene and climb around official vehicles up to and including a SWAT van. Westbrook officials will demonstrate a vehicle extrication and K-9 units.

Adults will not be excluded from the learning and conscientiousness. Have your blood pressure screened and, perish the thought that you should ever need it, see a CPR demonstration and consider getting certified this year. And learn about the Yellow Dot program, a safety system that involves putting the decal on your car to alert first responders that vital health information on your family is located in the glove box.

Outside, fun, and educational. That’s the trifecta. Don’t miss out.

Westbrook Kids' Safety Day | Saturday, September 16, 10 am | 2 Hannaford Dr, Westbrook | https://www.sbsavings.bank/Westbrook-Kids-Safety-Day/

 

 

  • Published in Kids

Pups at the Point

Don’t you feel a little older when an annual event you remember like it happened yesterday rolls around again? The odd part about it, as the seasons roll past, is not the number of yearly events you recall, but the speed at which the cycle comes around to begin again. Time does fly, at about Mach 5.

The happening in question this time is one of the most fun Portland has to offer to animal lovers: the beer-and-dogs festival Ales for Tails. Last year’s Ales for Tails sold out in advance, and the 2017 event happens on Saturday, September 30 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Thompson’s Point. Tickets are on sale for $30 at https://arlgp.org/save-date-ales-tails/. Just click on “Get Your Tickets Now” in the event description on the site of the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland, the org that will benefit from Ales for Tales. They will use the proceeds to keep over 4,000 animals a year safe and happy.

Now, as to the benefits attendees will receive, they are legion. Not only will your of-age bracelet get you samples of brews from beer purveyors like Allagash, Banded Horn, and Fore River, to name only a few, but Blake and Eva from the Coast 93.1 FM will be spinning tunes to keep everyone going, a plethora of food trucks including Urban Sugar, Cannoli Joe’s and Farm to Coast will create satisfied bellies, and get this, the folks from the Congress Street Starbucks have even concocted a creamy treat called a Puppacino so the canines can have a beverage too.

Experience all that and more with your furry family friend, but act fast. Not only will Ales for Tails sell out, but even if it doesn’t, tickets purchased at the gate are $50 apiece. Also, primary sponsor Idexx recommends using public transportation or app-based rideshare like Uber or Lyft, as parking is an extra $5 per car and spaces are limited at the Point.

Dog lovers, have a great time, rain or shine.

  • Published in Pets

Who will be the top Pumpkinheads?

The scent of woodsmoke on your clothes. The hush of an evening breeze in the treetops above. The glow of your friends’ faces in the warm light that only a campfire can throw. Even a maddening mosquito in your tent, whining in your ear, eluding every attempt you make to destroy it. Oh, and being awake, blood invigorated by fresh air, for the first notes of birdsong that gradually build to a chorus of thousands. All of these things and many more make Maine camping unforgettable. If you haven’t been yet, heads up, this may be one of the last weekends comfortable enough for outdoor sleeping, for all but the hardiest.

 

If you feel a pang of obligation toward that camping gear in your garage, and you’re also a runner with a group of like-minded friends, you’re gonna like this: The Pumpkinhead Trail Relay at Pineland Farms (25 Campus Dr, New Gloucester) combines overnight camping on idyllic Maine acres with the passion of competitive trail running. The Relay takes places starting on Friday, September 8 at 8 a.m. and goes on into Saturday. Entry fees are steep at $504 or $1008 (after processing) depending on the type of team registering, but the memories you make with your mates will be priceless.

 

Here’s how it works: As a member of an Ultra Team of four or a Standard Team of five to eight, each contestant must complete three independent trail loops multiple times to contribute to their team’s total time. The three loops, Campus (2.71 mi), Oak Hill (5.22 mi), and River (8.18 mi), all begin and end at The Grove, a hub that will feature a bonfire, music, games, and the transition tent for runners to pass the bib to teammates. Probably not as quick a transfer as it would be with a baton on a track, but the same idea. For assigned camping spots, each team will be allowed a 300-square-foot area, measured on the honor system. Neither dogs nor non-competing campers will be allowed.

 

Think you and your buds can take home a top prize? Start texting, and then dig out that tent!

 

Event website: http://pumpkinheadtrailrelay.com/

 

  • Published in Sports

Look alive: STRIVE for 5

It’s something every expecting mother and father ask themselves: What if our child is born with developmental disabilities? How will I feel? What will we do? And, should it eventually come to pass and be confirmed (usually before the age of 22), the parents, universally as far as we’ve heard, feel the same overwhelming and everlasting love for their child, teen, or young adult as they did the day the baby was born. And what do they do? Just what any parent would do: whatever is necessary. Luckily, there are organizations everywhere that exist only to help these families through difficult times. Not only that, but they work to maximize each youth’s potential, achievement, and enjoyment of life itself.

 

In South Portland (28 Foden Rd), that organization is STRIVE. Yes, it’s an acronym, for Socialization, Transition, Reflection, Innovation, and Education. They’re holding the Foden Road 5K Run/Walk and Block Party on the campus they share with Kaplan University, on Saturday, September 9, starting at 8 a.m. The fundraising run/walk courses over flat quiet streets and paved trails, since the emphasis is on community and support, rather than leaving everyone else in the dust with superior athletics. The cost is $25 for race entry, free for kids under 12. Try to raise extra donations after you register. This is important.

 

Your children will enjoy the free Kids’ Fun Run, also starting at 8 a.m. with no registration required. And you’ve already seen them running nearly wild and hiding under tables at other picnics like the Block Party. They don’t necessarily need to know that they’ll be helping disabled people their age with things like improving fundamental academic skills, developing leadership potential, improving economic opportunities through continuing education, and so much more, but they might be proud if you tell them. In any case, it’s a fun Saturday for a good cause. Let’s build this community.


Event website: https://www.pslstrive.org/STRIVEforFive

  • Published in Kids

Got a favorite dog breed?

If we had to choose the quintessential American dog, it would have to be the Labrador retriever. With their patience for children, gentle demeanor, solid large size, and enthusiasm for jumping in the car and going to play, they’re the all-around Everyone’s Dog. But above all, it’s their loyalty that is the key. We’ve all heard the stories of a lab skittering out onto thin ice to drag a child out of a wintry life-threatening situation, or drawing a high-spectrum autistic kid into his or her first teen vocalizations using the aura of placid affinity that only Labs are the masters of.

We imagine that’s why the Windham-based Maine Lab Rescue has specialized in the breed as they save retrievers and other dogs from southern high-kill animal shelters and other unmentionable situations, and bring them to Maine to recover in foster homes until they can be permanently adopted. Guess what? Several of those adoptable dogs will be at the Planet Dog Company Store (211 Marginal Way) on Saturday, September 9 from noon to 3 p.m. Staff from Maine Lab Rescue will be there with all the requisite papers, and of course, Planet Dog is stuffed with everything else you’ll need for your new pup. Dog lovers who want to volunteer to be a Maine Lab Rescue foster home can find out more by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Oh, one other thing labrador retrievers are good at: swimming. If you’ve got one that wants to jump in the pool at Sunset Ridge golf course (771 Cumberland St, Westbrook) with a bunch of other doggies, haul them over on Saturday, September 16 between noon and 4 p.m. With a donation to the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland, your canine pal will be granted full access to the closed-to-humans pool, and you yourself will be the recipient of some cool swag giveaways. Check out the event page at https://www.facebook.com/events/1322192111240403/. So don’t forget, you need to get that Lab work done.

Maine Lab Rescue: http://www.mainelabrescue.com/

Planet Dog: 207-347-8606

Sunset Ridge: 207-854-9463

  • Published in Pets

Do You Have a SAFE Plan?

If we’re not going to fool ourselves and each other, it is clear that there are some dangers in our society that we may have to face, through no fault of our own. Have you ever thought about some specific ones, and made a plan? Many Portlanders carry a spray, a mini-taser, or even a firearm. Others figure that, should a situation arise, their wits and resourcefulness will be what they depend upon. Between the armed and the faithful, there is a third group: the ones that train in martial arts. If you haven’t made up your mind, because thinking about the whole thing brings a feeling of paranoia, hear the words of author, educator, leader, national public speaker, and Martial Arts World Champion, John Jenkins: “The difference between being paranoid and being prepared is the [state] of being informed.”

 

Girls and women can become informed at Jenkin’s “Women's Self Defense: SAFE Plan,” a three-hour seminar at Portland New Church (302 Stevens Ave) on Saturday, September 2 from 9 a.m. to noon. Ticket prices are $25 for adults and $20 for adolescents (12-17, must be accompanied) at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/womens-self-defense-safe-plan-tickets-32198544714 .

 

The SAFE Plan safety program is about: Simplicity (easy to learn, practice and master), Avoidance (learning the skill of risk assessment to help avoid escalating threats), Focus (knowing what to look for in finding a way out of a threatening situation), and Escape (the ability to quickly get out of an unsafe situation). Jenkins stresses that for women, it may be more challenging to pursue goals and realize dreams because of the fear of exposure to risk from the outside. At the seminar, he will discuss how we as humans must change this unevenness. Participants are instructed to bring pen, paper and comfortable clothing. Go and gain a sense of empowerment and self-confidence that you will never lose.

  • Published in Sports

It Starts with Tapping Your Toes

While it is true that an inordinate number of Portland youths are mostly sedentary, quite a few are not. Among those enthusiastic youngsters, some are lucky enough to have supportive parents and the opportunity to develop a physical skill, beyond everyday play. When play is organized, every sport is an arena of such skills. Ball-handling skills, passing accuracy, and shooting under duress are three examples from basketball alone. The self-engineered stamina and endurance of long-distance running are two more. But some kids aren’t into the competitiveness of organized sports, and need an outlet that is still challenging and stimulating. For the ones that naturally love music and moving to it, there’s dance.

 

For kids and teens aged 10 to 18, the chance to show off their accumulated dance ability and maybe earn a spot on a gem of a local company’s roster comes at the Portland Youth Dance auditions at Casco Bay Movers Dance Studio (517 Forest Ave) on Saturday, September 9 from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. There is no fee to audition.

 

Accepted dancers will be placed into level I or II depending on ability. Portland Youth Dance teaches and performs both urban and formal dance styles, giving young artists a well-rounded set of skills to carry on into adulthood. The non-profit company requires dancers to participate in community outreach, as well. Some students choose to teach dance to elementary students at local schools. This ‘pay it forward’ philosophy, along with their ‘No Star, All Star’ maxim of performance without competition simply removes the fear of defeat that keeps many would-be young athletes home, dreaming. So if your kid has a dancing dream, click on http://portlandyouthdance.org/teen-dance-auditions-ages-10-18/ and take the first step toward helping them make it real.

  • Published in Kids
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