Archive | August, 2019

Channeling My Inner-Coach Taylor

31 Aug

I saw myself doing it at one point in my life, don’t remember when I thought I could pull it off but I totally saw myself with the whistle and Coach Taylor attitude.

But I hadn’t committed myself … not until my daughter saw Megan Rapinoe and Crystal Dunn on the screen during the World Cup and asked who are they?

Oh I’m playing soccer this year, she says. That will be my sport this semester.

Soccer.

The one sport in my entire athletic repertoire that I did not play. I watch it every four years and catch Vela whenever we can go to the stadium. I reported on it during my newspaper days. I know the ins-and-outs, but hadn’t played on a team before.

But there she was … inspired by World Cup fever and so I was left with a decision. I had my run-in with this AYSO bunch before … you know the disaster that happened with my son a few years back, so I wasn’t sure I could handle another logistical nightmare.

I had to think about this one.

You see, I had signed her up to play but she was waitlisted. You know the lies about the Wait List. I was like here we go again. And then I got the message … you know the one … ‘calling all volunteers’ but with an extra twist. If you’re player has been waitlisted we give priority to people who volunteer.

Priority.

And there it was … the trap. The offer I couldn’t refuse …

Coaching. Coaching your kid’s team, along with other kids you don’t know, who may not always listen, and whose parents might be THOSE parents, the ones that come out on the news brawling in a full on cage match because of a bad call on the field.

That gave me some pause.

But there could be positives …

Time for Jim Carrey’s YES Man to make his appearance. And he did. My perspective shifted and it no longer seemed like a trap but an opportunity. An opportunity to try something new with my daughter, a double journey.

Now I was a little hesitant because I come from the old school philosophy that you shouldn’t be a coach if you’ve never played the sport. But I already knew the sport, I was athletic enough to pick up some skills and vision was something I already possessed.

So I asked her would you be all right if I helped coach the team, and her response was you coach me all the time at home.

So there it was … I’d officially get a clipboard and whistle and help lead this girls 10-U team.

Let me tell you, some girls at this age aren’t as enthusiastic about playing soccer or should I say doing drills to help you get better at playing soccer. It was funny to watch the different personalities on the field. I wasn’t sure how things would pan out at our first game.

But I helped prepare them the best way I could … The Coach Taylor way. After all they’re still learning dynamics, skills, and team cohesiveness. So positive attitude and the ball movement we learned in practice is what I focused on. As the head coach led the offensive strategy and lineups, I focused on defense and mental state. Fun was an important part of the formula if the players were to last in the heat of mid morning.

And in the end … they did a great job. They hustled and ran hard. We won 5-1 and I was happy to see the butterflies go away and the confidence build up in my daughter and the other players. Step by step they found their way on field of dreams.

In the end, I was glad I wasn’t one of the parents sitting in beach chairs on the sidelines. I was the one running the sidelines helping athletes become better players, helping them gain their confidence.

I was a coach … for the first time … officially. Although I still need whistle.

Buen Camino my friends!

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My Son is Kevin Arnold …

25 Aug

So the summer began with the end of fifth grade and the start of the unknown …

I mean, I knew it. I’d been to junior high … I survived 6th grade, but as an 11-year-old girl in the 80’s who took the city bus every morning at 6:45 a.m. I had a different set of issues and concerns. 80’s concerns.

Today is today and my son goes off into the Wonder Years. He is Kevin Arnold. I hope he finds a friend like Paul, or Winnie Cooper, or another Kevin. It makes the transition so much better, to have a friend … a good one.

I worry a lot because the dangers are different now, social media and phones allow kids to publicize harshness when in my time it would eventually, if you were lucky, phase out.

But there are so many other concerns or issues that stress me out about junior high, but I’ve been corrected … “It’s not junior high anymore mom, they call it middle school.”

And so middle school … my sweet kid is going to middle school and it’s a growing pain that tugged at my heart and tuned up the dial in my mom anxiety, because I’m gonna miss my little boy as he turns into a young man.

See ya later kiddo… to the one that used to sprint out of the dismissal gate with joy inside and sport the biggest smile as he’d charge into my arms for a hello-I’m-so-glad-to-see-you-I-love-you hug so powerfully strong that it would take down The Hulk. I hope I see you again.

See ya later kiddo … to the one that snuck into bed still in pajamas before toothpaste or toothbrushes made their appearances because he wanted a family hug and just five more minutes, five more minutes … I hope I see you again.

See ya later kiddo … to the one that giggles at corny jokes, cracks up with his sister, and dances to songs from commercials on the spot …any time of day, he feels the music he dances and doesn’t care if anyone is watching…I hope I see you again.

see ya later kiddo … to the one that was so cool he listened to Queen, U2, and the 80s, the kid that liked feel-good songs in the morning to jump-start his day … I hope I see you again.

See ya later kiddo … to my sweet, sweet boy with a BIG heart who still loves StarWars, Avengers, America Ninja Warrior, Bear Grylls, and Legos… who likes to hang out with his mom and play board games, soooooo many board games, and baseball, and beach soccer, badminton … who is my daydream believer who gets lost in books, so many books, and thoughts … I hope I see you again.

See ya later kiddo … to the one who loves sharks and wants to grow up to be a part-time shark conservationist, part-time hockey player, part-time baseball player, part-time firefighter. I hope I see you again.

See ya later kiddo … to the one that still wakes up for Saturday morning cartoons and can watch for hours … the one that likes pancakes and Honey Bunches of Oats … I hope I see you again.

See ya later kiddo… You’re growing up. You’re a 6th grader the kind with lockers, P.E. Classes, nutrition instead of recess, and life changes that will involve deodorant. You’ll run into jerks who don’t know how awesome you are, and kind people who’ll know you’re magic. You may doubt yourself, but I hope you won’t because everything about you is incredibly awesome. I hope that even though your life is changing, you still hug me with that 10-second embrace, eyes closed tight because it feels like home. I hope your heart will still feel safe and big near me. I hope you’ll always remember how much I love you. You are the most amazing kid I know and I’m proud of you.

You’re my kid and you’re growing and I hope that when you’re in sixth grade and seventh and eighth and you turn 12 and 13 that you’ll still remember your 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 years … because they’ve been the best, with ups and downs they’ve been a good life. We just started year 11 and the adventures have been memorable.

Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.

I love you, I love you, I love you …

Buen Camino …

Felt Like Rainbow Brite Smiled Down On Me

17 Aug

The concept attracted me the most.

To think that someone just thought it would be a good idea, good enough to draw travelers into a two-lane road detour and experience your vision takes guts.

The bravery of an artist … I wanted to see it.

The success of this art installation keeps ticking and gratefully until the year 2021. And I was thankful for that because I had missed the initial viewing.

I had seen some of the Facebook posts, the few times I’d logged on last year, and made it a point to make this a destination. Not so much because people marked it off as a “thing to do,” or “the thing I did,” but more so to appreciate the creation of it, to pause in admiration and witness it in person. Pictures tell a story, the good ones anyway, but being there in person gives you feeling. And I wanted that, so last month it happened… it was my new adventure for the month of July.

Seven Magic Mountains.

I smiled when I got out of the car, happy because I’d finally made it to this artistic oasis in the middle of the Nevada desert. And even though others had taken selfies with fish faces, and models in high heels were trying to add clips to their portfolios and check it off their list, this experience was more for me.

My dusted up sneakers carrying the residue of the Nevada desert stopped at the barbed wire and waited. I wanted to stop time as everyone rushed to the rocks, or others expressed their this-is-it looks. I paused to enjoy it … me and my dusted up sneakers and jeans.

It was a peaceful thing.

I wondered where he got the concept of bringing vibrancy to the desert. It said in the notes that it was bringing “human presence to the desert …” It kind of felt like Rainbow Brite smiled down on me, on this spot, just to bring me a moment of Zen. But his name was actually Ugo Rondinone, not Rainbow Brite. The artist behind this vision.

I imagine he took into account sunrises and sunsets and how spectacular it must’ve looked, with the brightness of the colors mixing in with the rays of the sun. I imagine he did. He knew.

I caught it in the late morning, though, and it was still pretty magical. I walked up placed my hands on the giant boulders and took a breath. They were epic in size and looked like they used all the crayons in the Crayola box.

I was thankful that my kids were there with me and they got to see what I saw. Maybe it was better for them, seeing it with their Kaleidoscope eyes, can’t say for sure. But the Seven Magic Mountains changes anyone’s perspective.

I was grateful for the visit. I bet my Dad would have appreciated it. To some it was a detour, or pit stop to stretch out, but for me it was the first destination, the place where creativity and bravery met in a burst of colors.

Buen Camino, my friends!