Family affair

Phillip Brents

Fri June 6, 2014 12:49pm

Being a team mom is just fine with Eastlake’s Laura Randall

With three teenage sons participating in youth sports, including two at the high school level, Laura Randall knows all about being a team mom.
“Most parents will help out if they know there’s a need,” she said. “I don’t mind any of it.”
Sons Jake and Zack are both competing in sports at Eastlake High School while youngest son Josh is an eighth grader at Eastlake Middle School.
Both Laura and husband Jim actively support their children’s athletic endeavors. That can include assisting with team fundraising activities such as car washes, planning team awards banquets and running snack bars at games.
With three sons each playing different sports, the Randalls are often left scrambling when it comes to which parent is taking which son to practice.
Josh, the eighth grader, plays for the South Bay Outlaws youth lacrosse team — practices are at the Montevalle Park near Eastlake Middle School. Zack, a sophomore at EHS, has swim and water polo practice at Southwestern College.
Jake, a senior, has high school lacrosse games all over the county.
The whole family gathered one afternoon to watch Jake play a lacrosse game at Eastlake High School. But soon Jim had Josh in tow, heading to an Outlaws practice, while Laura ferried Zack to swim practice.
Jake, the oldest, is obviously more independently mobile.
The Randalls likely wouldn’t have it any other way. “Jim and I love the variety of sports and activities that the kids can be involved with at the schools,” Laura explained.
Both parents have sports backgrounds, which helps explain the boys’ interest in pursuing an active lifestyle.
Laura’s background is in swimming. She started with the Hemet Valley Dolphins at age 8 and swam four years on the varsity team for Hemet High School.
“I didn’t swim in college — I had to get a job to pay for school,” she said.
Jim played baseball, basketball and some football in high school. In college he stayed active training for and competing in triathlons.
Follow the leader
Jake, who will attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in the fall, already favors his father in stature and has used his height to an advantage on the boys lacrosse field to become one of the Titans’ top scorers this season.
Jake started playing lacrosse at age 10 after seeing a friend play. “He loved the fast pace and took to it very well,” mom noted.
In high school, Jake also played two seasons of water polo (freshman and sophomore years) while continuing to concentrate on lacrosse, which remains his sport of choice.
“It’s fast-paced — it’s the fastest sport on two feet,” Jake explained. “There’s hitting too. It’s a mix of all the sports — football, basketball and hockey.”
Besides playing sports, Jake also works part-time at Eastlake Church. He has Church. He has managed to maintain a 4.0 grade-point average at school and plans to study engineering at Cal Poly.
Jake said he might even try out for the college’s club lacrosse team. He said he was proud to serve as one of the Titans’ co-captains this year, “making sure everyone was doing their part to help the team.”
“It’s been fun watching the team evolve from a scrappy bunch to become a competitive team,” he said. Jake called playing lacrosse “a great team bonding experience.”
“It’s a great group of guys to be with,” he said. “You learn that you can’t do things alone. You need a team to support you.”
Surf’s up
Mom Laura said all three of her boys started playing “traditional” youth sports such as AYSO and Little League before discovering what drew their interest.
Zack’s element is clearly the water, having participated in boys water polo, surfing and swimming while at EHS.
He helped the Titans win last fall’s Mesa League boys water polo championship and also played a part in helping the swim team win this spring’s league title. He qualified for the league finals in both the 200- and 500-yard freestyle events.
Zack has played sports year round since he was 5 — starting from AYSO, Little League and basketball. He maintains a 4.2 GPA while competing in three sports at EHS. This was his second varsity season on the swim team.
“It’s in the water, it’s competitive,” he said. “For water polo, it’s a team sport — you need to help the whole team to be successful. Swimming is an individual sport, but it’s also a team sport when competing against other schools.”
Among his goals are to help Eastlake win a CIF water polo championship and also advance to the CIF level in swimming. He said participating in sports has helped him manage his time more effectively. “It makes you meet deadlines,” he said. “You have to manage your time more wisely and build team-working skills.”
As for surfing? It is indeed a high school sport. Eastlake competes in the Scholastic Surf Series against other San Diego County high school teams. This is the Titans’ second year competing in the county circuit. The team finished 3-2 in meets this past season after posting a 2-3 record its first year. Zack consistently placed in the top three out of approximately 15 team members this year.
“It’s fun, it’s different,” Zack explained. “You get to travel places.” Competition venues included beaches from Ocean Beach to Oceanside. Judging is done on the level of expertise as well as the quality of waves.  There are a maximum of 10 waves in each heat.
Zack has already progressed into barrel riding. “It’s almost like a skateboard ramp, you’ve got to judge the way it’s going to break,” he explained.
Next in line
Josh, the youngest, is following Jake’s lead as a lacrosse player after first competing in youth baseball and soccer. He plays long pole on the Outlaws’ middle school team and is looking forward to the summer season and playing in high school next year.
“It’s fun to play,” the Eastlake Middle School student said. “There’s a lot of action — it’s better than baseball.”
Watching older brother Jake play has been an obvious motivation factor. “It’s interesting to watch him because the level of play is so different,” Josh said. When Josh enters Eastlake High School as a freshman this fall, Laura will once again have two sons sporting Titan blue. It’s an on-going cycle.
“We were both raised with parents who got involved and helped our teams out — whether it was his dad coaching or mom helping run the snack bar and keep score,” Laura explained. “Jim and I both follow that same model of wanting to get in and help where we can — from Little League days serving on the board and coaching to helping in the start-up days of the South Bay Outlaws lacrosse and also the newly formed South Bay water polo organization and surf team. We have always wanted to help support the teams and coaches that are boys are involved with.” 
The brothers enjoy watching each other play whenever possible. Jake, who has preceded his younger brothers in the “been there, done that” category, said he still sees a lot of himself while watching Zack and Josh perform in their respective sports.
“It’s cool,” Jake said. “They’re different in each way but I can see the resemblances.” School is never out for this Eastlake family.