Saturday, January 30, 2016

Standing Tall

We spent 12 hours in between the gym and the car for tournaments today.

In that time period, I saw the good, the not so good, and the darn right ugly in the game of youth basketball.

I worry, are we as parents taking this too far? 

Are we doing our children a disservice by putting so much pressure on them to win at any and all costs?

I, myself, know that I am not innocent in this.

Almost always, I have a great time watching my kids compete and have fun on the court.

I am their number one fan and cheer them on, win or lose.

There are times, however, when I find I'm getting a little too into the game and need to sit back, take a deep breath and remind myself that this is supposed to be fun, they are only kids…

Does it really matter if they don't make that final play and sink the win?

When it comes down to it, I say nope, it really doesn't.

Winning or losing a 5th grade game of basketball isn't going to matter too much in the grand scheme of things….

Although I have to admit that it isn't always easy to remember this when your team is down by one bucket with mere seconds to go in  a nail biter of a game.

In all of the games I have watched (and granted it isn't all that many considering the young ages of my kids), I have never felt my skin crawl at an opposing teams fans.

In the boys' final game tonight, we saw some pretty ugly jeers directed at our kids.

I didn't hear much of it (thankfully) as I was on the other end of the court.

One of our moms was video taping on that side and had to come over to our side because she felt so uncomfortable at all the negative comments and down right awful things other parents were saying about our guys.

I wasn't happy to hear this but tried to shrug it off and just focus on our guys and cheer them on.

It was neck and neck and unfortunately, in the end, we didn't quite take the win and lost by a bucket.

It was tough.

Hopefully the boys can learn from this loss.

Immediately after the game, while the boys were gathering their things to leave the court, one of the players from the other team came up to my son, tapped him on the shoulder, and said, 'good game.'

To me, this was an amazing show of good sportsmanship.

Exactly the type of behavior I want my son to exhibit to the other team, no matter if they win or lose.

This is why I want our kids to play,

these are the lessons I hope linger with him long after he hangs up his jersey.

I don't, however, want him to remember the mean, hurtful comments shot directly at him,

not by another player but by a mom on the opposing team in the middle of the game.

There aren't too many things that get me going,

in fact, I consider myself a pretty easy- going person and I think most who know me would say the same.

But when I have to listen to my 11 year old son break down in the car on the way home because of nasty jeers directed at him by a parent...

 a parent...

my mama bear claws come out.

I am sure you don't realize this, dear mom, on the opposing team,

but instead of achieving whatever 'objective' you were going for when you yelled at my son tonight

you didn't hurt him…

oh no,

because you see,

you really helped him.

You helped him by seeing that there are grown ups out there who don't act older than him.

Thank you for helping me teach my son that no matter what he should always stand tall and not back down or let some 'parent' get to him.

Because of you, my 11 year old stands taller.

Thank you.

We did have a good day and I want to remember these moments (from both of my kids…so I apologize for the photo heavy post in advance.)

And these are the memories I want to cherish….

I think our kids will be just fine as long as we let them be that, KIDS.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Words Matter.

Words matter.

They have a way of calming my troubled self.

For me, they are the pin prick of light in the belly of an endless tunnel.

They wash over my soul and squeeze tightly to my heart.

Words, matter.

Looking back on my life, I realize that writing has always been a part of me, nearly as important as eating, breathing, and sleeping.

If I am struggling with something in my life, the first place I turn is to a pencil and paper, or more recently, a computer and a keyboard. 

Some of my favorite memories as a child and young adult are of me sitting in my bedroom filling up notebook upon notebook with stories.

This love for writing stemmed from reading, where I first discovered my love for words. 

When my crazy, busy life allows, (or more accurately I make a conscious effort to ignore the laundry, dishes, and general disrepair of our home) and plop down with a book, my soul is at peace.

Words matter.

Today I read a book by one of my favorite children's authors, Kate DiCamillo. 

It's a book I've heard quite a bit about over the years and just haven't sat down to read.

If I'm being honest, the cover just didn't pique my interest. 

I know you should never judge a book by its cover but judge I did and a part of me is glad I did.

Had I not judged this cover I would have read the book years ago and it probably wouldn't have had quite the impact that it had on me today.

Kate's words and story about Edward Tulane washed over me and squeezed tightly at my heart.

I can't remember the last time I finished a book and immediately wanted to pick it up and read it all over again.

The story about a journey of a china rabbit named Edward Tulane touched my heart. 

Words matter.

Thank you Kate for sharing your wisdom.

If we have no intention of loving or being loved, then the whole journey really is pointless, don't you think? 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Dear Tyson,

I knew from this moment on that you were the child that was destined to give me more gray hair than the others ….

It wasn't such a big thing.

You had just decided that you were still very much hungry for applesauce

and your tired mama just happened to leave it out and on the table

without the lid,

when she left the room to attend to your big brother and sister.

It really wasn't your fault that you were still hungry and decided to stick your adorable little two year old fingers into the jar and swipe a handful.

That face of yours in the first photo just about does me in!

Back in those days, I used to keep my camera ready to go and within easy reach

so I, of course grabbed it upon walking in on this scene

knowing that it would be one of those moments that I just couldn't forget.

You look pretty sheepish, eh?

Of course, it didn't stop you from sticking your little mitts back into the jar and going for the gold all over again…

as evidenced by this series of photos.

I could go on and on with stories about how you make us all




roll our eyes,

bust a gut…

but I don't believe your mama has it in her to write for hours and hours on end!

I am so very thankful for all three of you,

but, you my dear, came around when I our family needed you most.

You made us smile

when we wanted to cry.

You made us laugh

when we wanted to yell.

You made us realize that there was so much more to this life than just existing. 

I relish this mischievous side of you.

This little boy who makes rubber bands sling shot across the room because it's so funny,

who shakes his head in disgust at his crazy family,

who wonders with wide eyed abandon,

whose smile is so big and so wide that everyone around you can't help but grin right back,

who loves beyond measure,

and pulls a fast one better than the very best prankster.

Thank you, little man, for showing all of us what living truly is.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

It's Not How Big You Are, But How BIG you PLAY.

Looking back at the blog posts from the past couple of winters there seems to be a recurring theme…








As a parent to a couple little ballers, I have to say that I am having a blast watching my kids have fun and learn important life lessons on the court. 

I read stories about parents and coaches pushing their kids and players way beyond what they should these days and it makes me pause and worry…

are we pushing our kids too hard? 

These thoughts immediately disappear, however, when I listen to the excited chatter of my children with their dad (who is attempting to coach both of their teams this year) over a game or a new play learned at practice.

"Dad, did you see that play? Should I have done something different there?"

"Hey dad, what happens when…" 

So far both kids are loving the game and I, as the parent who does not coach them, fully support this love.

Yesterday, Tanner's 5th grade team played in a tournament and had an extremely successful day. 

He and his teammates had all of us parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, and sisters cheering and beaming as they played their hearts out.

To me, these boys define what a team truly is.

They go out there and have fun, work hard, hustle, and play together.

They make me smile.

Thank you boys for making all of us so proud of you!