Moving forward

For Linda, who requested I write on this subject –

When I was in jr. high and high school I looked forward to practices for every sport every day.  I was slightly lost without them.  I didn’t know what people did with all their free time.

I wasn’t a stereo-typical teen in the sense that I had no desire to sit in my room and brood about the fact that the world wasn’t fair, boys didn’t like me, or that I didn’t have the latest fashion.  I spent every single day talking to my parents and siblings.  I adored school and I adored sports practices.  The day of my last senior year volleyball game I remember sinking to the floor and sobbing.  The season was over and everything was going to change.  This is the first time I remember noticing the seasons of life.

Then, I became an adult.  I got a job.  My time available to play sports shrunk significantly.  Then, I got married.  My time shrunk again.  And, then I had kids.  I stopped playing all together.  I missed it, but seldom had time to think about it.  I had health issues that helped me gain a significant amount of weight and made losing it extremely difficult.  But, all along I LOVED sports.  I never stopped loving them just because I wasn’t able to play.

When the twins were born I heard about a volleyball league I could play in.  I decided I’d go try it out.  I was nervous.  I was 10 years older, overweight, and hadn’t played.  But, it was sorta like riding a bike.  When I got there it just came back.  I didn’t move as fast.  My minimal vertical had basically disappeared. But, I had the basics.  The fundamentals that I used to be annoyed my coaches were harping on – those were still there.  And, I’ve been playing volleyball ever since.  I found it difficult to play in the league with the people who were beginners.  They didn’t even know the rules and were laughing like the sport was just for fun!  And, the upper division were all young and fit.  The guys were giants and spiking it so hard that if it hit me in the face there was a good chance I’d be knocked out.  But, I’ve managed to play in both levels and figure out a balance.  I’m not the best.  But, I’m having fun and being active.

This year life has gotten in the way of our league.  But, I intend to change that.  I want to be able to play and enjoy my time.  I refuse to stop being active.  The good news is that I haven’t stopped completely.  I’ve been coaching.  When I leave practices I’m sweaty and disgusting.  The girls probably think I’m old and crazy, but I don’t care.  I love playing and I love being there teaching these girls to love it.  The important thing I keep reminding myself about is that I don’t have to be the best.  I don’t have to play at the level I did when I was 17 and 18.  I just have to keep going.  I have to keep myself moving.  Sometimes that means I take baby steps and do the easy stuff.  Sometimes that means I swallow my pride and do the hard stuff even though I’m positive everyone else around me thinks I’m ridiculous.  It’s not about what they think.  It’s about me doing something I love and trying my best to keep myself healthy despite health issues that make weight loss annoying, despite time crunches, despite french fries.  I’m still going and I’m going to keep going.

If you feel like you are too old, too fat, too slow, too whatever – stop labeling yourself with things that do not help you.  Start labeling yourself as things like tenacious, persistent, and hard working.  Don’t waste your life hiding until you’re perfect for what you want to do.  Do what you want until you’re the best you can be at it.



Tis the Season

It’s football and volleyball season.  That means volleyball practices at 6am and football practices until 6pm.  That means rushing to and from work to fit in games and practices.  It means trying to enjoy all the accomplishments my children make while trying to encourage them to improve and grow.  It means dinner is cooked between 7 and 8 at night.

This year I’m coaching my daughter’s volleyball team.  It’s been so fun.  The girls are excited to be there and most are beginners so they haven’t created bad habits yet! The team is made up of 6th and 7th grade girls.  As my husband says – the best part of our game so far is our cheering and our warm up.  But, these girls are coming along and will all make excellent volleyball players very soon.


(Yeah, that’s me on the right – shorter than half the players.  I’ve had a few people ask me if it bothers me that I’m shorter than these girls.  Um, NO!  I honestly don’t think about it much and didn’t even notice until I saw this picture.)

Here is my favorite picture so far this season – the formation gets me every time.  (Yes, I’m special).


I’m more calm this year with the football thing.  Well, I volunteer to run the spirit wear table so I miss 1/2 the game. And, I try not to look when my son is getting hit or hitting people…but I am more calm. HAHA  He still is loving it and it’s been a true joy to watch him improve over the past couple years.  My favorite part is the comradery that is built in to football.  The boys love and protect each other.  There is no instance where that doesn’t happen on the team.  It’s pretty amazing to watch these boys come together like that.  All but six are new – it speaks volumes about their coaches that they enforce that.

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(My boy is #30)

So, with coaching and watching and selling spirit wear the subject of how much time it takes to be a parent for an athlete (or a child in drama or band or whatever) has come up.  It IS time consuming.  It takes hours and hours and hours of our lives to be there to drive, pick up, coach, practice at home, cheer, and just BE there at games.  But, you know what?  How much time is “too much” to invest in our children?  The time they are with us is short.  A mere 18 years before they move on to things that will take them away from us.  My oldest is a junior.  In a year and a half he will be off to college.  How could I ever choose to miss these few passing moments?  I couldn’t.  I can’t imagine not being there for him or experiencing his joys, his letdowns and just his life with him.  The same is true for the twins.  I want to see them growing and learning.  I want to cheer for them when they do well.  I want to cheer for them when they need some encouragement!


These are the blessings the Lord has entrusted us with.  All too soon they will be grown.  Enjoy these fleeting moments.  Cheer as loud as you can.  Lose your voice by the end of each game.  Try to attend every performance, every game – we all know none of us will make every single thing – but do your best!  Your kids see you trying and they love you for your efforts.

Motherhood, my friends – embrace it!


Sporty Spice

When a woman finds out she’s expecting she immediately starts dreaming of the things her child will become.  It starts happening even before the baby is born.  She doesn’t have to know if the baby is a boy or girl.  The dreaming just starts.  My husband and I had plans for our kids.  We dreamed many dreams for each of them.  We knew they wouldn’t be or do all of them, but we still had our own plans.  Now, my children are older.  They have dreams and plans of their own.  I don’t hold it against them.  Instead, I try to do my best to help them reach their goals.  My husband coaches many of their teams and I keep the stats, the score book, or whatever else I need to do.  We always try to be as involved as possible.

We like to say that our twins grew up in the gym.  Their big brother wanted to play basketball from the first time he touched a basketball.  Last year my daughter said something about her friend going to a gym.  I said that her friend didn’t play sports and neither did anyone in her family.  My daughter’s eyebrows furrowed in confusion.  “Then what do they do with all their time?”  I laughed at her question because she just has no concept of all the different life choices that can shape all of us.  Her twin brother can dribble better than half the boys on his big brother’s team.  It’s just something he’s been doing since he could.
That’s not to say that I’ve forced my kids into sports.  Between the three they’ve tried ballet, gymnastics, singing, guitar, drama, and so many more things.  But, once the dust settled, while they may still have interest in other things, they still love sports.  And, that makes me a SPORTS MOM.  I’ve admitted it loud and proud.  I spend my evenings and weekends in gyms or at the field.
There are many interesting things about being a sports mom.
One is the level of crazy involved.  The first type is the mom who thinks her child is the best athlete ever.  She is positive that whatever team her child is playing for or sport her child is playing would never even happen if her child wasn’t there.  No team can win without her son or daughter.  The other end of the spectrum is the mom who has no idea what is happening on the court.  She may have her nose in a book, or is on her phone the whole game and never bothers to talk to the coach or to even stop at practice.  There are various sports mom levels in between.  Some moms are the sweetest people I’ve ever met and then the game starts and they are yelling and screaming like it’s a professional game.  Others like to coach from their seats.  I try to remember that being a sports mom means that while I am yelling and being a crazed fan – other kids are watching and listening.
Another thing is the the amount of time and life involved in getting kids where they need to be.  As a working sports mom I spend a full day at the office and then rush to get my kids to their practices or to attend games.  The time commitment grows with each child.  I thought dragging the twins, with their play pen, bottles, toys, etc to each game was a real pain.  I find that getting someone to volleyball, and getting another someone to baseball, and then having yet another someone who needs to be at basketball way more difficult than taking toddler twins anywhere.  I often feel like I spend my life in the car.  I don’t want any of my kids to feel like I spent more time at one of their siblings activities than I did theirs.  I also make my oldest go to the twins’ games.  I am entertained when he complains about it being ‘boring’ or he’s ‘too tired’ .  I have said to him “Do you have any idea how many hours your brother and sister have spent in the gym watching you play basketball over the last 10 years?”  He looked at me with a sheepish look.
I try not to worry about the time that disappears while we are at the gym or going to and from practices or games.  I know that in a few years no one will be asking me to go anywhere.  Instead, I will be calling my kids asking if they want to come visit.  When I’m rushing back to the office after a game to work until 2am instead of just skipping a basketball game or a volleyball game – I try to remember that this season will only last for a short time.  I may be tired, frayed, and feel like I’m losing it, but my kids will remember that I took the time to come to their games.  I cheered, I helped with the book, I chatted with their coaches, and I made every effort to be involved in what was important to them.