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Trying Not to be “That” Mom, and Failing

As I said on MB, from here on the hot and dry West Coast, it was difficult to get a true understanding of the effects of Hurricane Sandy on millions of East Coast and Midwest residents. But in looking at pictures of the cleanup and hearing about those that lost their lives, I am sending all the positive vibes possible in an easterly direction.

Insert awkward segue here…

To my utter surprise and delight, my son decided to join a local youth volleyball league a few months ago, and has decided that he truly likes playing this sport.

As a mom who has been desperately seeking a sport for her son (anything, I would have taken pretty much anything! Fencing, swimming, whatever!) just so that he can get out and set some physical goals for himself, this was welcome news.  I don’t expect him to become some sort of pro player of anything, but I do think that getting the discipline involved in sports, as well as the physical and emotional outlets, is an important thing.   And dare I say that I think he might have some natural talent?

Did I mention that I played volleyball competitively for years?  Or that I also coached for years, including at the junior college level?

So when I see some well-meaning city employees who may or may not have much experience playing volleyball trying to teach my son improper form or telling them to do ridiculous things like trying to return a serve by setting, I sit on the bleachers and try to shut my damn mouth.  As I slowly clench and unclench my fists.  Kidding! Sorta!

Last weekend after my son’s game, I couldn’t hold it in any longer.  I HAD to know why they were encouraging these youngsters (8-10) to engage in something I consider sort of wrong (trust me, I am being a bit anal, but I am also thinking that they shouldn’t be introducing bad habits) I went and asked the coach.

The young man looked at my 41 year old self and gave me some sort of unsatisfactory answer, to which I responded with another question, which in turn I’m positive earned me the nickname of “Old Hag Who Thinks She Knows Everything.”

Sigh.

 

Things I Hate: Football

There, I said it.

Some sort of blasphemy here in the United States, I’m sure.

I’m not a fan of either college or professional football, and never have been.  I grew up in an area that did not in any way revolve around football the way many towns do, so perhaps geography plays a large part.

I don’t care so much about adult football players, they are of course adults, and can choose to do what they wish.  It’s all the young football players out there, getting repetitive brain injuries that really get my goat.

I cannot understand for the life of me why parents willingly sign their children up for this violent sport.  And the banners around town can say “touch” football all they want, everybody knows they still tackle each other.  Indeed, are encouraged to tackle each other.

I will never forget in kindergarten when a classmate of my son’s was absent for almost a week.  When he came back to school, I asked his mom if he was OK.  She told me a harrowing tale of how he sustained a neck injury in football practice (he was 5!) that could have led to him being paralyzed if he hadn’t received immediate medical attention.  And yet, he still was back to playing as soon as the doctor signed him off!

I understand that in any sport, there are physical risks that come with the territory.  But in football, it just seems like you are asking to be injured, and it’s abnormal if you have never been.

My husband played football all through high school, and he has absolutely forbidden our son to play football until he is at least of high school age.  Which pretty much means he won’t ever be on a football team, because most people don’t just walk onto the football field without ever playing and make the team.

I’m totally fine with that.

I Could Totally See Myself Doing This

These parents have put so much time and effort into training their Olympian children, can’t we give them a bit of a break when they get emotional?

If they sat there stone-faced, then they would be accused of being uncaring.

I come from a long and proud tradition of “parent heckling” during sporting events. My sister played basketball, and my dad was fond of screeching her name and clapping as she was preparing for a freethrow. With me, it was right as I was about to serve the ball during a volleyball match, which is a point in the game which requires quite a bit of concentration.

Huh, maybe that’s why I never made it to the Olympics.

Yep, it had nothing to do with the fact that I was much too short and much too slow.

Nope, I’m gonna blame it on my Dad.

That’s what parents are for.

His Team Spirit Has Been Exorcised

I have to start out by saying we are all about team sports here at Casa Glinda.  I played team sports for many, many years including softball, basketball and volleyball.  Later in my career I focused on volleyball, and loved it so much I wound up eventually coaching at the college level.  My husband also participated in multiple team sports, including football and wrestling.  We practically lived and breathed tenets such as “a team is only as good as its weakest player” and “it’s all about teamwork.”  We go around the house high-fiving each other every time one of us makes an impressive display of parenting skills.  OK, I’m joking on that one.  Sort of.

Which is why I don’t understand why the “go team” DNA apparently did not get passed down to the Munchkin.

Like the good suburban parents we are, we enrolled him in team sports from the time he was in preschool.  Bitty soccer. Tee ball.  Basketball.

He hated them all, especially practices.  It’s not due to a lack of coordination or ability, he just didn’t understand what the big deal was.

He did not see the point at all in running laps.  Why did he have to run in some arbitrary circle just because someone told him to?

Why should he have to sit in the outfield when someone else got to have all the fun at first base?

This is the same child who screeched at his fellow soccer teammate that he had “messed up”and allowed the other team to score and brought the boy to tears.

I’m still apologizing for that one.

Fitting the definition of insanity, I kept trying to push him into team sports, thinking it would be good for him. 

One has to learn how to be a team player eventually, right? Right? 

Hmmm, I’m wondering if Bill Gates or Steve Jobs ever played team sports.  

What it boiled down to was that he was not  happy and thus we were not  happy since badgering my child to attend practice over his vocal protests is not the manner in which I wish to spend my afternoons.

But I do think that exposure to sports is important, if just from an exercise and discipline point of view.

So, tennis, anyone?

Sports Lessons

will ferrell

 

To wit:

1. There will always be the overbearing parental unit who stands on the sidelines and bellows, “KICK THE BALL, JACKSON, KICK THE BALL!” pauseTHE OTHER WAY, JACKSON, THE OTHER WAY!” pause “DAMMIT JACKSON!”

2. Your child’s interest in the sport will be inversely proportional to that of the coach’s skill level, i.e. your semi-pro Little Leaguer is stuck with a coach that barely knows the names of all the positions, and your lackadaisical basketball player will be hounded by the coach whose last team won the state championship.

3. Someone will always be unwilling to get to know the rest of the parents on the team.

4. One contingent of moms on the team will push for “healthy snacks” because they don’t want their kids “eating that crap” and the other contingent thinks the healthy snacks moms need to lighten up a bit.  Semi-veiled insults from both sides  may or may not ensue.

5. There will always be one mom who takes the after-game-snack to an entirely different level, including, but not limited to: personalized team logo M&M’s, custom snack bags with names done in calligraphy, full sized Gatorade bottles, and a veritable supermarket aisle’s worth of snacks in the bag.

6. Her polar opposite will also make an appearance, bringing only lukewarm water bottles and a single granola bar.

7. There will be at least one kid whose parents never stay for the games or practices .

8. Never sleep with your child’s coach when you’re married to someone else. It makes those pancake breakfasts so very awkward.

9. Your child will be on the team with the worst color uniforms.

10. You will tell yourself that your child’s performance on the field/court doesn’t matter to you.  But it does.

Celebrity Dad Faceoff 2.0

As we wind our way out of the 80′s, it seems that Bruce Springsteen is a suprisingly strong CDF contestant.  Not only did he win against Bruce Willis, he triumphed against Jon Bon Jovi, he of the large 80′s hair and (IMHO) bad songs.  Yeah, yeah, I know they were popular and sold a lot of records, but so have Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Even though public opinon on him is currently divided, there was no question that this next contender practically ruled the 80′s movie screen.  Let’s not think of him as the “couch-jumper” but rather the dashing pilot with the cool motorcycle.  Oh, and the volleyball scene couldn’t hurt, either. Speaking as a former volleyball player and collegiate-level assistant coach, I can tell you that as much as I love Goose, it is obvious he cannot play volleyball to save his life.

bruce springsteen

VERSUS

tom cruise top gun

Skorts- The Devil’s Work?

Photobucket

I was looking over websites, perusing the new spring offerings that are out. I was not really impressed.

What I did see, though, was that odd hybrid of skirt and shorts known as the skort. Not a skirt that has shorts underneath, but the kind with the flap of fabric in the front for the skirt, but looks like shorts in the back.

My theory is that moms often fall into wearing skorts because they think, hey, it looks like a cute skirt in the front, but I can actually bend down to pick up my toddler without showing the world my panties! Which I will agree is indeed a fabulous thing.

But I got to thinking about skorts, and wondering if they were in fact, evil. I will admit to owing a pair about ten years ago or so, although I don’t really think there has been a time when they have truly been a fasion “rage.” Or maybe there was, and I just wasn’t around for it.

The skort was first developed by Leon Levin as the “Q” skirt for the LGPA, where they became a big hit and adopted by many a golfing lady, as well as women tennis players. Now for sports and other athletic endeavors, I can see why they would be nice. Sort of like a reverse mullet, party in the front, business in the back.

But considering the vehemence of the debate on capris, I’m curious. Are they the most useful piece of clothing ever designed? Young girls can get away with them, but nobody over 12? Or, maybe you think NO ONE should ever wear skorts. Ever.

Do tell.

The Return of B-Ball

Bathurst High Phantoms

Although my home and native land is also the birthplace of basketball, it must be said that the sport has not really taken off in the True North perhaps because, however Strong and Free it may be, it’s also on average 2 inches shorter than its neighbors to the South. While such an abundance of shortness poses no barrier to the Filipinos, who surely boast the highest number of basketball hoops per capita in the world, it must be said that they are rather farther away from the towering giants who dwell below the 49th parallel and, thus, less likely to be challenged to pickup games.

But we at TeenyManolo have found one town in the sub-Arctic lands which is positively consumed with basketball fever, and that town is Bathurst, New Brunswick. And why? Given the history, they have every reason to loathe the sport.

Eight teenage boys from Bathurst, N.B., will show the country what courage and perseverance look like when they walk onto the basketball court, ringed by cheering crowds, in Fredericton on Saturday.

A year ago, their high school and their small city were turned upside down when seven members of the Bathurst High Phantoms boys basketball squad were killed in a highway traffic accident.

The wife of their coach, Wayne Lord, also died when the team van collided with an oncoming truck on an icy road, as Lord was driving the players home from an evening game in January.

Bathurst High disbanded its boys basketball program, and Lord quit coaching, as he and the community coped with the tragedy.

In the fullness of time, the school hired a new coach and formed a new basketball team for the new school year, and resigned itself to competing in a lower league than the experienced team of past years.

And they won.

And won.

And won the Provincial Championship just yesterday, in fact.

…they surprised everyone, working their way into the Tier-2 provincial finals, and — despite the recent hospitalization of their new coach — to a resounding 82-50 win on Saturday over a brave group of boys from Campobello Island High, who faced the daunting task of playing a team almost willed toward victory by those who knew their tragic history.

“We did the impossible pretty much,” said 10th-Grade guard Alex Robichaud, who stood on the court after the game, marvelling at the lights of the TV cameras and the excited fans that circled around him on the court.

“I didn’t think we’d get this far. It means everything to have won.”

“Grief is an ongoing issue for all of us,” [Peggy Arseneau] said. “But we’ve kind of parked it in a place in our heart right now, because everybody’s rallying behind this team. The love and the pride in our team is just overwhelming.”

Arseneau and other Bathurst fans wore red t-shirts emblazoned with the sweater numbers of the seven players killed last year, along with the words: “Boys in Red . . . Never Forget.”

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