Tag Archives: sports

Hugs and Moments of Silence

10 Jun

He never knew who Michael Jordan was, but learned more about him this week.

You see, my son had to once again learn a life lesson, but this time it came through the world of sports.

Now not everyone is a superstar, but everyone has something to bring to the table. Some are offense, some defense. Everyone thrives in a different environment. But hearts can be broken no matter what side of the ball you’re on.

He loves hockey and baseball, and does really well in both. In fact, he often practices during the off-season, and while the big selection process took place this week, he’d been practicing his drills, skating, and watching videos online.

He was ready. He felt ready. He took the ice, just like Andre Agassi would take the court. A monster on defense. Now as a parent, I know many inflate their kids’ achievements and spread it on pretty thick. However, I know my kid. I know he’s not Wayne Gretzky  … he’s still a work in progress. But he falls in the upper levels of the spectrum there. So when he was not selected to the top shelf team and was chosen for what was considered the JV Squad, it was a serious burn. His spirit deflated, and his confidence crushed. He had worked so hard.

It was difficult to watch  …

I had to step up my parent game. This was when I needed my cape and superpowers in tact.

Keeping your head up when disappointment punches you in the stomach is hard. I’ve felt it plenty of times in life, so I knew what he was going through. I put my arm around his shoulder and we just sat there for a minute.

I had to bust out my best Friday Night Lights Coach Taylor Speech. But I waited until we  left.

I’m proud of you. I think you gave it everything you had and I saw it. Your old coach saw it. You saw it yourself. You walked off the ice knowing you had no regrets. And that’s how it should always be no matter what. You’re  a good hockey player.  And you’re an even more amazing person. Sometimes we just have to work a little harder because people don’t see what we see. They missed it. You know who Michael Jordan is, right? …”

image

Everyone had this amazing picture made into a poster up on their wall … I was still  Magic Johnson fan. Always. But for the purposes of this story I needed Jordan.

 

We sat on the bench, outside the pizza place, for a little while longer. He listened to Jordan’s origin story, and how when he was a kid he got cut from the team. He wasn’t even picked. But that didn’t stop him from making a monster comeback. He knew they had missed it.

There wasn’t much to say after that. Sometimes as a parent, I’ve learned that hugging works well during moments of silence.

Buen Camino my friends …

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Alternate Universes

7 May

It’s interesting, once you get older you realize the standards you set way back in your younger years may have softened, and sometimes circumstances of life set them in stone. Standards of what kind of life you wanted, what you would tolerate in relationships, what you would do once you had that corner office, what kind of parent you would be, what your Plan A would be, all these expectations of yourself sit on your shoulders.

I thought about all these expectations and standards recently, after hearing an interview with former Duke basketball player Jay Williams. Now I was a big Duke fan and I remember seeing him play ball back in the day, but sort of lost track of him after the NBA and then saw him pop out as a commentator. I didn’t realize what had happened in between.

You see his life didn’t turn out the way he imagined it would, circumstances changed the standards in his life. A motorcycle accident, on a motorcycle he wasn’t supposed to be riding in the first place, changed everything. An alternate future existed. Plan A was no longer in effect and there never was a Plan B. There was no plan for something like this.

But he found one.

It was a long road I imagine, having everything taken away from you. A choice you made contributed to that and now you were faced with picking up your life and starting over again.

In the interview Williams began talking about expectations and life and how angry and embarrassed he was that it had all been taken away. He’s in a better place now and has come to peace with where he is and feels that this was where he’s supposed to because had it not turned out that way, he would have just been another ball player that succumbs to the temptations of most professional players careers.

But what I found amazing was how he changed his perspective on standards. I mean I guess he had no choice, but how is that that you do that? How do you wrap your brain around the fact that you will no longer be able to meet the standards you set for yourself? How do you change the blueprints when the building is already built? People who you thought were your friends abandon you and you found yourself betraying your “I will never allow this to happen to me,” scenario. You fall into the never say never it happened to you club.

Williams talked about all this happening to him and says that he eventually turned the corner. He found acceptance of his new situation through a spiritual journey. He flipped the switch.

Then I wondered, could I do that if I had to?

And then remembered I already had.

You see my future was taken from me, one of my futures and I had to accept something I did not want to because I had no choice. But I wasn’t driving a motorcycle. Just a sports injury that had taken me down my senior year, the year that was supposed to be Big Woman on Campus. I went through this terrible depression at the time. I mean I didn’t even know what it was and I didn’t have a label for it, and no one seemed to understand it, but I felt like the person I was supposed to be was gone. The person I saw myself as, my future, my Plan A was nonexistent. I would have to live by a new set of standards and I didn’t know how to do that. People didn’t seem to understand why I was feeling the way I did. Most of them dismissed me, told me to get over it. But I found it difficult getting over the one outlet that made me feel successful, the one thing that I identified with, the one thing that made me believe in myself, the one outlet where other people saw me the way I saw myself.

It was a long time before I could find the lesson in that one. I don’t think it happened until college and then I found another outlet that made me feel that way I found something intrinsic that helped me flipped the switch. It wasn’t a spiritual journey or relationship that made me turn the corner. It was knowing that so much time had passed and I was still standing, and that somehow on a daily basis I found the 2.0 version of myself.

Time, pain, and humor.

After hearing the Williams interview I was reminded of this struggle and of the standards and of where I thought I would be, and how life was supposed to look. I don’t know if I would have been here at this moment writing this story in the alternate universe, but the experiences along the way made for a roller-coaster journey that I’m still learning from.

Buen Camino my friends.

 

House Of Sports

8 Aug

Morgan Freeman is back and I’m listening.

He makes me want to be an Olympian … just so he can narrate my life.

I don’t know if The Olympics are big at your house but they sure bring my family together morning, noon, and night. We get pumped over here, so when someone feels a lack of enthusiasm I must remind them that I come from a House of Sports.

Now I just don’t passively watch it. I’m an enthusiastic fan, which is why I hesitate when a friend of mine recently invited me to a quick getaway for a few days before the school year starts. Hang out. Let the kids  play in the pool. Get out of the house which was desperately needed.

But … It’s The Olympics.

rio-olympics

I’m all for hanging out and drinking wine and chit-chatting, but when gold is on the line and my country is close to the podium I’m gonna have to be glued to the television. Surprisingly not many of my friends are into sports, like myself. Only a few share my love of Peyton Manning, Monday Night Football, hoop dreams, sideouts,  400 relay teams, a love for Coach Eric Taylor, Morgan Freeman commercials, Hoosiers, Miracle, The Natural and other sports movies.

So they may not understand the importance of Olympics, they may be passive about it or maybe they’re just as excited as I am when I hear the tannnn-tannnnn-ta-tannnn-tan-tan-tan-tan-tan-tan tannnnn. Don’t know.

But what I do know is that come night time, when all the kids are in bed and some of the girls want to get to chit-chatting or drinking, I’m gonna have to steer them towards the television and remind them that I come from a House of Sports. And Michael Phelps will be swimming, Aly Raisman will be taking the floor, and Kerri Walsh Jennings will be hitting the beach. So NBC  will probably be blaring from the TV or iPad. But I’ll encourage them to bring their treats.

I Blame This On You … AYSO … You Suck

16 May

Dear AYSO,

I normally don’t talk about my parent failures, unless they are of epic proportions.Most of the time I have my mini break-downs and hope that two Advil will help cure the ginormous headache that accompanies every parental disaster in The Guat household.

I took the Advil, but the two-mile run and the punching bag worked better. I think this disaster got to the punching-bag level because it involved sports.

For the second year in a row, I failed to sign-up my son for AYSO soccer season. Now normally something like this wouldn’t bother me, it’s not like we live and breathe soccer over here. But I did want to expose my son to the world of soccer and feel the World Cup hype the rest of the universe experiences.

But for some reason, everything on the road to AYSO registration went wrong, and thus parental failure was born.

I know AYSO is supposed to be a great organization and has this whole everybody plays, everybody is equal, open registration, let’s-have-fun mentality, but dude … I can’t even get on the team.

I can’t …

You lie AYSO!

For two years in a row the system has failed me. The first year I pleaded ignorance, I decided to sign up for a fall sport in the early summer. Apparently the end of June was not the time to sign up for a sport that happens in The Fall. Apparently this happens in Winter … Winter/Early Spring. Are you kidding me?

So because of this failure the only solution was The Wait List.

Let me fill you in on something called The Wait List … it’s a bunch of lies. It was fake hope they instilled in me along with generic emails that wished me luck next year. The Wait List is crap.

This year I decided I wouldn’t let them bamboozle me with this Wait List and sideline my kid. So Spring was here. I thought I got this … I got this! But no I didn’t.

I searched The Internet and went to their main page. I looked for login information and they had nothing but a smiling orange.

Lies ... All Lies

Lies … All Lies

Nothing about registration on the main page. No promotion. No advertising. No “Hey Click Here For Soccer Registration” Button. Nothing.

So I came back this month. May. We’re still in Spring, flowers blooming, right?

And again … I got nothing but …

The Orange

The Orange

I thought this was cutting it close, summer is next month. I don’t see any registration information. I better click a few links and dig deeper. So I did. Families tab. Kids tab. Training tab. Volunteer tab. I felt like Columbo searching for clues. Then when I found a link with the “Find a Team Near You” tab I thought I got lucky.

Nope

Page Not Found.

I clicked on the Resources and Registration tab and ended up on the Page Not Found Page.

I kept clicking on link, after link, clicking and clicking and then thinking No Whammies, No Whammies, No Whammies.

Burn.

I don’t know if it’s a secret society where you just guess when registration is supposed to be, you have secret communications, or you have a secret handshake but after 33 minutes I finally breached the soccer Illuminati code. I was in! I found a separate link, that took me to another page, where I could fill out a form. I had a form! But apparently after I filled it out I was not done.

There was a Step 2.

Bring two printed copies to a designated park registration site. AYSO had one after Groundhog Day, and then the second one today. It was from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. I looked at my clock. It was 2:07 p.m.

Bastards.

I thought maybe if I print this out and rush to the park that’s twenty minutes away I can still catch them packing up. However the HP57 PhotoSmart Scanner and Printer In One was in on the conspiracy. Cartridge jam. Paper jam. Load Paper Alert! Even though there was a ream of Staples best 8 1/2 X 11 white sheets in the tray. After 23 minutes of trying to print two copies, I grabbed the one copy I miraculously printed and took off.

You lie AYSO, not everybody gets to play. Not. Open registration didn’t happen for me. We’re still on the waiting list, but I know that’s a whole He’s-Not-That-Into-You kind of situation where I’ll never get a call. I blame this on you AYSO, you suck.

But when I told my son the story he said … “well when’s hockey season?”

You lost a good one AYSO.

Sincerely,

The Guat

.

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I Have Umph …

9 Apr

 

They made my commercial :)

They made my commercial 🙂

 

 

 

The Rematch … It’s On Devil’s Canyon … It’s So On. I’ve Got Backup This Time

2 May

It’s that time of year again … the time when I challenge my weary bones and muscles … the time of year when I pretend I can swim freestyle knowing full well that it never works and I just end up swimming the backstroke and floating my way to the finish line. It’s that time of year where I step out of the “mom” box and step into the badass frame of mind which lasts up to 24 hours, then I go back to being defeated. It’s … Tinman Triathlon time and Devil’s Canyon awaits.

Pinche Devil’s Canyon. It’s on … It is so on.

Image via Durtbagz.com

Image via Durtbagz.com

 

I’m counting down. I’ve got about two months to whip this Guat body into Tinman shape. Don’t get me wrong the Fight For Air Climb certainly put my quads where they belong, it’s just the rest of my body that needs to cooperate. Specifically, the old parts. The parts that take Glucosamine and something called CoQ10. But I’ve decided to add some yoga and stretching to the mix, because my lower back seems to be aging faster than any other part of my body. Although my knees are a close second, and I’m afraid I’m going to need both to conquer Devil’s Canyon. So if you have any pointers feel free to share them.

However this time, the Tinman experience will be different. The training will be different. I’ll have someone there. My son. My four-year old son has agreed to enter the Tiny Tots Tricycle Triathlon. A super miniature version of the race and I’m excited to see him cross the finish line.

This of course means that I’ll be doing double duty when training. I can’t really go at full speed when training with him, so I’ll have to do my training whenever I can get it. This usually means at the break of dawn, which sucks for a night person like myself, or it can happen in the dark of night where suspect people usually walk the streets and I have to keep my Hapkido skills on high alert. Win-win I guess, but at least I have one day during the weekends where I can get my muscles up to Tinman status.

My son is pretty much at Mini-Tinman status when it comes to biking and running. He’s pretty high energy all we have to do is extend the road he covers. However we do have to practice our swimming a bit more, so the Lightening McQueen floaties and goggles will be making an appearance.

We’re both excited about the event and all I’m hoping for is that he finishes the race. He doesn’t need to be first. He just needs to finish. As for me? I don’t need to be first either. I just need to conquer Devil’s Canyon. It kicked my ass last year and I’m hoping the incident doesn’t repeat itself. In truth all I want to do is finish my race before the Tiny Tinman race starts. I want to be at the starting line cheering him on and be part of his pit crew when he gets on his bike. So I definitely need to get into kick-Devil’s -Canyon’s-Ass Shape.  It’s a rematch. Definitely a “Thrilla in Manila” type of event.

Stay tuned.

 

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Sandbox List Adventure VI: Curious George Strikes Again

18 Feb

I never would have thought a monkey would inspire so many adventures. But apparently if it happens on Curious George, chances are that my son is definitely interested in adding that adventure to his Sandbox List. Well in truth anything on PBS and The Sprout Channel tends to get his curiosity going.

Just wish the flu wasn’t so powerful. It’s been tough to kick this one. I’ve battled 12 rounds and it had me down for the count, but I’m back up again, thanks to multiple trips to the CVS in my proper middle-of-the-night sweats and a t-shirt uniform. I may have looked crappy, but I’m doing my best to try to regain my energy so that it meets my son’s everyday standards. I think I need more vitamins. Even though I’m finally turning a corner the crappy-sick feeling continues attacking my immune system, but adventure and a four-year old do not wait for you to be at 100 percent. So I cowboy-ed up and tackled another item on The List. Something requiring worms.

Yeah that’s right … worms. And you know me. I needed a little assistance, because slimy crawly creatures and The Guat … they don’t mix. I mean Curious George didn’t need any help from The Man in the Yellow Hat. But it’s a cartoon. The Guats are living in a little bit more challenging circumstances, but we did all right on our first fishing expedition. We may not have caught any fish that day, and my son may have been a little disappointed, but at least we had no hooking eye-gauging incidents with the fishing pole or falling in the lake accidents, and that’s what really mattered. A successful failure. Well probably not. Catching a fish would have been totally cool, because you know that Curious George caught three of them. But maybe it will happen on our next fishing adventure, you know when there are no suspect teenage characters throwing pinecones in the lake, scaring the fish. Yeah … we definitely need a teenage-free lake environment.

 

Hiking up the hill, having our Andy Griffith Show-Opie moment.

Hiking up the hill, having our Andy Griffith Show-Opie moment.

 

 

Teaching his sister the ins and outs of his new fishing pole ... well at least everything he saw on Curious George.

Teaching his sister the ins and outs of his new fishing pole … well at least everything he saw on Curious George.

 

 

My son practicing the reeling part of catching a fish.

My son practicing the reeling part of catching a fish.

 

 

Getting some pointers from his dad before he gets ready to cast his line.

Getting some pointers from his dad before he gets ready to cast his line.

 

 

The excitement was building and he was ready to do this on his own. I was worried about the sharp hook at the end, but he assured me he was being careful as he checked his fishing equipment one last time.

The excitement was building and he was ready to do this on his own. I was worried about the sharp hook at the end, but he assured me he was being careful as he checked his fishing equipment one last time.

 

 

Fishing 11

His sister was more interested in yelling at the ducks than our fishing adventure.

 

Fishing 20

The ducks that caused all the commotion.

 

The Waiting Game. Something that required a lot of Goldfish Crackers and inventive stories on how he would catch all kinds of fish. We lasted about forty-five minutes. Better luck next time. Definitely.

The Waiting Game. Something that required a lot of Goldfish Crackers and inventive stories on how he would catch all kinds of fish. We lasted about twenty-five minutes before he lost all hope and wanted to play Angry Birds. Better luck next time. Definitely. And there will be a next time. He assured me. “We just need more worms, mom. Curious George had a lot of worms and a bigger lake.”

 

 

 

 

Weekly Image of Life Challenge: Event

15 Feb
Event

Event

 

It’s part of our culture.

It’s an all-day event.

It begins early in the morning and ends late at night.

It involves tailgating with  breakfast sandwiches, and orange juice, followed by BBQ wings, nachos, Goldfish Crackers, Capri Sun pouches and plenty of other beverages.

It involves high-fives and smiles, half-time shows and Thomas the Train companions.

It involves a stadium filled with fans cheering and my son enjoying every minute of it.

It involves touchdowns, excitement, and unforgettable woo-hoo moments with my son.

His first college football experience … definitely an event worth remembering.

 

 

Weekly Image of Life Challenge courtesy of This Man’s Journey.

 

 

Through Blood, Sweat and Tears, There’s a Badass in Everyone

15 Oct

He won the NCAA Wrestling Championship … at 36-0 … with one leg. One. No prosthetic. No six-million dollar Colonel Steve Austin bionic apparatus. None. Just one leg.

Then he won an ESPY Award.

 

 

Dude.

Normally when I see stories like this they make me stop complaining about my life — my troubles. Guilt sets in. Stuff like, it could be worse, right? Although I doubt it.  But this story, this story didn’t do that. This story made me think … damn … that’s awesome. I should be doing some bad-ass stuff in life too.

Then I remembered … dude I woke up this morning. My kid kept me up from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. and I still managed to wake up at 7:30 a.m. when my other kid woke up ready for the day. Parenting is badass.

I remembered I built a Lego Fire Truck with my son — the fire truck with over 240 teeny, tiny pieces. Badass.

I remembered I can eat an entire Claim Jumper Chocolate Silk Pie all by myself. Badass.

I remembered that after working a 12-hour mom shift that leaves me desperately weary, worn out, and in need of Advil, I run two miles in the dark of night, and then I write an entry in my blog. Badass.

I remembered that even though I get writer rejections at least once a month and people strongly suggest why don’t I just pursue another avenue in life, I still stick to the writer dream. Badass.

I remembered … I survived The Warrior Dash and I’m doing my third triathlon this Sunday and even though I’ve been in the pool once and know the swim is going to kill me, I’m still going for my third race. Badass.

So even though I didn’t win the NCAA Wrestling Championship or an ESPY Award, this story reminds me  that there’s always a little badass in me — a little unconquerable spirit that tells me … don’t give up, that perseverance eventually pays off, that everyone has obstacles, that you are unstoppable when things seem insurmountable even if you don’t know it, that you are badass even if you’re sleep-deprived. A one-year old will do that to you.

“I don’t care what’s probable, through blood, sweat, and tears I am unstoppable.” — Anthony Robles

This inspiring story inspired the Guat.

 

One step at a time. One pedal at a time. One splash at a time.

23 Aug

I fell off the wagon. But today was day one. I’m back. And no matter what happens on day two or day forty-five, today I was back on the wagon. I’m on a roll. Yeah one day can qualify as being on a roll. I’m building momentum, here.

What has brought me back to sports bras and New Balance running shoes? The athletic surge of energy I got from the Olympics? Probably.  Those inspirational VISA commercials by Morgan Freeman and wishing he was talking about me? Maybe. An athletic challenge that meets the crazy competitive sporting nature at my humble Guat athletic level? Yes. Most definitely.

A challenge.

A mini-triathlon challenge … this one by the beach.

Image via Durtbagz.com

That’s all it took. This is what had me lacing up my shoes at 9:30 p.m. on a Thursday night. After undergoing a very long day where my four-year old son suffered a 100+ fever and crazy mood swings once the Advil wore off, I decided to take it to the streets. I know most people think that days last 24 hours, but when you’re sick or your kid is sick and you wake up and 5:44 a.m., for some reason the day is much longer. Much. I think it’s the mood swings and all the patience that drained out of my body.

So once the moon came out and both kids went to sleep the training began. I told myself this is it. You hate running. I know you hate running. For me it’s a pointless exercise unless I’m being chased by some slasher.  But running is an essential part of a triathlon. So I didn’t mind it much. As long as the running serves a purpose in the end, I’m all good.

And let me just clarify that even though I’ve probably gained like ten pounds from eating all those different forms of chocolate — pies, rocky road ice cream, cake, KitKats — the purpose here is not weight loss. The purpose is being able to finish the triathlon and possibly improve on my last performance. The purpose is to get that cartwheel feeling of excitement in accomplishing something I think is pretty awesome. The purpose is to get back on the wagon and feel good about myself. I’m sure I’ll feel pretty spectacular once I’ve crossed the finish line.

I’ve got two months to train my Guat body into amateur triathlon form. Today I took my first step. I’m pretty excited about my start. I know I’ll probably fall off the wagon again, considering my lack of available babysitters and my ability to work out at all. But 9:30 p.m. seemed to work out all right tonight. But I’m hoping not to make that time slot a habit, considering that suspect characters like to commit criminal activity during these hours. And even though I grew up in the barrio and have plenty of street smarts, it’s good to avoid dark streets with no lights. Even if you are a brown belt and carry mace, the dark of night may not always be a good workout schedule.

But I can’t get discouraged for having only sixty days to train, knowing full well that I may miss a day or two. I must think more along the lines of quality workouts instead of quantity. Granted I need at least four days, but four quality sweat-busting days. The kind of days where I need Gatorade. Here comes The Guat … one step at a time, one pedal at a time, one splash at a time.

Giddy up!