Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I have no words

           Competitive sports are not for the weak at heart.  It amazes me how tough my kids are because I have to bite my tongue more times than not.  You will have parents and kids say cruel things.  You will see parents act like lunatics.  And some coach’s behavior is just, well, if you don’t laugh you might cry.  Sometimes I worry these people are going to bust a vein over these games.

           I had a coach tell me that my son was a “serious athlete”, but he needed to gain some weight.  He advised me to begin giving him protein shakes.  He did warn me to be careful of the amount since they can be hard on his liver.  My son was 8 years old at the time.  Correct me if I am wrong, but i’ve always heard the liver is kind of an important organ, one of those you can’t live with out.  We passed on the shakes.

          Upon going to our first cheer competition I was bombarded by a multitude of skin baring uniforms on small children.  I had to pay extra for the length of our cheer skirts, so they were age appropriate.  Well not everyone sees this as important.  Nothing like a 6 year old in a two-piece cheer uniform.  At least the judges make the older girls remove the belly button rings before competition.   Seriously, just because you can pierce it does not mean you should.

          I have had parents tell me my kids were not good enough to make certain teams.  I have heard complaints over my kid’s performance; I have learned to roll my eyes.   I think it is a good thing to have no words, because the ones I do have are not very constructive.


I incorrectly reported the name of the team that played in the semi-finals.  I reported their name as Master Bladders.  They are the Master Bladers.  Due their old age and dirty style of play I feel this is a mistake anyone could have made, but I apologize for any offense.  Anyhoo, my bad.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Pepsi Center Bound

     My husband’s team won their semi-final play off game so we are Pepsi Center bound.  It was a heated re-match with the Master Bladders, their archrival.  Their fans can’t cheer for them, they have to yell, come on white, since they have kids present. 

     Clearly, their reputation preceded them; this poor team spent the entire first period in the penalty box.  The ref’s warned them that if they talked back they would add penalty time.  Most 2-minute penalties became 4 minutes.  I’m laughing myself silly, I mean come on, typical adult man, has to argue everything.  What am I saying typical 11 year old man as well.

     My sweet passive husband even got a penalty.  He was sprinting for the puck and got a bit out of control.  He barreled into a player, not on purpose, it’s e-league hockey, and he just couldn’t stop.  Unfortunately it was the only female player and she got angry.  She is yelling at my husband and he just looks at her with a glazed over look and skates away.  It’s the same look I get when I yell at him.  At least he is consistent.

     So stay tuned, 9:00 am this Sunday at the Pepsi Center.  After the game, we will all go to brunch like civilized Hockey Fan’s!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

My bracket is better than yours

I’ve established I know little to nothing about sports.  I was never athletic; I was bad at the few sports I tried.  Most of what I know about sports I learned from watching my kids play and listening to my hubby.  I do enjoy basketball and am saddened by the shortness of my children.  I do not know the difference between double dribble, travel and walking, unless a vacation is involved. 

So it was much to my surprise when several years back my hubby asked me to fill out a bracket for the NCAA tournament.  So I did, and I won.  The very first time I filed one out I won.  Do you want to know my secret?  It’s very complicated.  I pick all the first seeds.

At first my husband laughed at me.  My reasoning was simple, isn’t that why they are ranked highly, because they are supposed to win?  Well it made perfect sense to me.  Well this year I am winning both my brackets.  I am even beating my husband’s family, which is crazy because they fill out their brackets with the care of a neurosurgeon. 

Next year I am considering consulting the bookies in Vegas.  If my simple approach wins I might ought to try getting some cash out of it. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Those pants are sneaky little buggers

I don’t know about you, but in my house sports uniforms and gear get lost all the time.  My daughters ripped jeans I try to throw away keep showing up, but the sports uniforms are like elusive endangered animals.  I feel the need sew in tracking devices.  I mean the kids wear these things weekly, I am so careful to wash them and hand them over gently, with strict instructions to put them someplace safe.  Apparently, they have hidden hands and feet.  No matter where the kids put them, they end up someplace else.

Today we had a scrimmage at 9:30 in the morning.  I am not going.  I don’t need to drag the 9 year old out of bed at the crack of dawn on Sat. to sit in the cold watching a scrimmage.  So Dad gets the job, and I figure he would want it.  When I ask him to get the gear out the night before, so they don’t have to scramble in the morning, he gets irritated.  Clearly, what do I know about these things.

So this morning as they are scrambling to find the gear, the words I told you so are on the tip of my tongue.  I don’t say it as I realize this will not find the missing pants and will only heighten dad’s fragile state.  I inquire as to the sights that have been searched thus far.  I realize waking me was a final and highly resisted option.

We cover, laundry, drawers, closet, as I get my robe on.  I go check my daughter’s dirty laundry, because you never know what’s in that basket, negative no pants.  I go downstairs doing a cursory re-check.  I hear the whole; I already checked there, blah blah blah. 

I make it down to the bowels of the house, better know as the basement where my son has chosen to dwell.  I look around.   He is sitting on his bed, his dad barking to just wear his black pants.  I stay calm, I get in my zone.  My keen eyesight allows me to scan quickly over the situation. I start to calculate in my mind, I go through the w’s, when, who, where, what the ……

I see the pile of cloths I gave him two days ago, on the shelf above his bed.  IT WAS A MIRACLE, a Christmas miracle.  There they where about a foot from the kids head. It’s always the last place you check.  Actually, it’s always the last place mom checks.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thank God my kids are special

Some lady in New York is suing the private school her 4 year old used to go to.  She has accused the school of being one big play room, putting the 4 year old in a 2 year old class and thus damaging her kids chances for getting into a prestigious private school, then Ivy League college.

Now we can all sue the various gyms, schools, sports and music programs.  I can’t wait to blame others for my kids shortfalls, although, let’s be honest, they don’t really have any.  But it nice to know I can sue someone if all the money I am spending on him or her doesn’t pay off, even though it will, I’m not concerned.

I mean, thank God my kids are so special, I will never have to worry about this.  I am expecting a call any day now from the top colleges in the country.  I fell so sorry for this woman.  Clearly her kid was not good enough and she was thinking, I’ll spend nineteen thousand dollars and get her up to speed.  Well, we can’t all be winners.

I’m glad I don’t have this problem.  I guess it’s in the genetics.  Who knows what would have happened if they weren’t good and got on the wrong team or ended up in the wrong class at school.  The key to your kid’s success is not in the amount of money you spend.  I beg God daily to make my kids perfect, so far, so good.

Well I better go, the phone is ringing, and I’m sure its Harvard.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Smile, I'm paying for it.

           Since our season is so long and obviously a bit more serious than we had anticipated.  Hubby and I decide it might be a good idea to get the kid some extra help in the batting department.  Don’t get me wrong, the kid can hit, but after his last 6 at bats resulted in 4 walks, one single, one strike out, we figured he needs an intervention.
We purchase a 12-lesson package, at a place called Hitstreak.  They film the kid, break down his swing, great stuff, I highly recommend it.  We luck out and get a great coach.  Young guy, Marcus, played high school ball at a local high school and then spent some time in the big leagues.  Very nice guy, he looks like he is having fun, smiling and cracking jokes.  I honesty think this guy is thrilled to be making a living teaching kids the sport.

            My kid is 11 and probably too young to be getting private lessons.  At least I’m not paying for my 6 or 7 year old to take privates.  But let me tell you, someone else is.  I almost fell off my chair.  I’m watching my kid bat, I look over at this little cutie-pa-too-tie, and wouldn’t ya know it, he is in a private lesson.  I don’t know if he is any good or not, but I figure at his age, it’s anyone’s best guess.

Clearly, this has got to be a bit of a waste.  At 7, does the kid even know if he likes baseball, football, lacrosse, perhaps water sports?  We live in the burgs of upper middle class America.  The options are limitless.  Why not wait till the kid has the ability to pick what he really likes.  When my kid was his age he liked Barney and Power Rangers, things change.  I at least waited till me kid could rationalize to me, why he wanted to play at this level.  (His answer, “because I loves baseball, seriously mom, I LOVE baseball, please, please, please……”)

            So junior is hitting, then coach asks junior if he wants to pitch, or should I say lob the ball.  Should they even really throw at that age?  Have you ever seen a 6 or 7-year-old pitch?   If Dante could rewrite the Inferno, he would defiantly make one of the lower rings of hell a 7-year-old kid pitch game, brutal.  Those at bats go on forever.

            Well, me thinks this poor coach was feeling like this private was going on forever.  He looks like I do when I go to the dentist, except this is a game, he chose to do teach it, and he’s getting paid.  I get it, we all do things we don’t really love, just to pay the bills, tide us over till we get to the good stuff.  But for Gods sake, fake it man.  If you look like you would rather be playing in traffic, just say no I’m busy and don’t take the kids money.  Come on parents, you should really go to your kid’s private lessons.  For 35 bucks you can get the 12 year old down the street to watch the brat all night.

            So I’m relieved we got the coach we got.  But I tell you right now.  I’ll be at every single lesson.  I certainly do not need to pay someone to look miserable while my kid plays baseball.  I can do that for free.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Call me Crazy

Well I made it through another competition weekend.  I honestly do not know how I do it.  I feel a bit bad about it since there are thousands of moms doing it and probably not complaining.  Don’t get me wrong. I love watching the girls and I love some of the parents.  It’s always nice to leave the bubble (what I call the suburb we live in). 

The competitions are mainly at the Coliseum and for whatever reason our team always ends up sitting way at the top.  In the beginning I tried to dress cute, but after climbing up and down stairs hundreds of times you learn to, at the very least, wear sensible shoes.

Speaking of the stairs, that brings me to angry cheer mom of the week.  I’m hobbling down the stairs certain that even though I am wearing my comfy, well fitting, super ugly shoes,  I will trip to my death.  My 9 year old is moving at the pace of a sloth, I think she is singing one of the pop songs blaring over the speakers, mesmerized by the decibel level.  I stop at the bottom to wait.

I hear someone shouting hey, hey, I look up and a very angry lady is waving at me to move.  At first I smile at her since I think she can’t be serious.  Then I realize she is really angry.  She is watching some team perform, and I am in her way.  I would understand if it were her team, but when you team performs, you get to go down on the floor to watch.  I move out to the concourse and see some other parents from our team.  I repeat my story and then all the parents say, yeah she yelled at me too.

This leads me to my rant of the weekend.  It’s simple, it’s general admission, there are multiple teams coming and going, if you sit directly in the line of entry and exit you are going to be asking people to move all day long.  So here is a genius idea, get ready its controversial.  Why don’t you move?  I know, call me crazy. 

But hey, I get how fun it is to sit at these competitions all day and watch all the teams.  I mean why not add to the thrill by yelling at people.  Whatever, it was an all day competition.  When we returned 4 hours later, the woman was in the same seat, still yelling at people for standing in front or her.   Come on lady; pull up your mom jeans and just move.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Puck me? No puck you!

          I am going to have to ground my husband.  He is consorting with some dangerous folk.  During his Hockey game this weekend, I witness 6 penalties, a full body slam that resulted in an ejection, a couple of almost fights, really naughty language and a middle finger.  No to mention the team we were playing was called the Master Bladers. 

            Not only did I get to see this, but also, much to the delight of my 11 year old so did he, and he absolutely loved it.  I mean he wanted to see his old man throw down.  I’m like no way, he is our only source of income.  The last thing I need is to have to take care of my 42-year-old husband while he recovers from some type of injury, sustained by fighting on the rink.

            The crazy thing is when the game was over and the other team took off their helmets, they were all really old.  I expected to see some young guys, full of testosterone, but no.  It was the salt n pepper squad, and they were ready to rumble in the jungle.  And by jungle I mean the upper middle class suburb of Littleton Colorado.

            So Hubby’s team won 2-0.  Yea.  My favorite part was the yelling from the crowd.  These families, consisting of teenagers and 40-year-old women were getting riled up, it was hilarious.  I was right there in the midst, clapping laughing, offering up a violin for the losers to play, my kid was holding up his finger in the shape of an L, good stuff.

            After the game, we saw one of the players form the other team at the restaurant we where eating from.  My husband offered to buy the guy a cheap shot, they guy laughed.  That’s the great thing about old man hockey.  After the tempers flare, a good drink makes everyone calm down, wish I could try that with my 11 year old.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

You can have it, whatever it is.

            At one baseball game last weekend I heard the most hilarious thing.  The coach for the opposing team comes out of the dugout yelling, and I am not exaggerating on this, “It’s time to take back what’s ours!”  The other team had been down most of the game, and had started to make a comeback. 

This statement made me wonder, what exactly was theirs for the taking?  Did they lose something, did my kid steal some batting gloves or a helmet?  If he is going to get sticky fingers, he better go for one of those nice $200.00 bats.  Alright, I get it, V-I-C-T-O-R-Y, and I get he was trying to motivate his team, but saying it so loudly made him look kind of, well silly.  I think that he thought if he yelled loud enough our team would be intimidated, whatever.

            I had a vision of some bad sports movie from the 80’s.  Team is down, championship on the line, some 80’s-esque actor comes out for his big speech, (think Rob Lowe in that Hockey movie).  They score, win, somehow the guy gets the girl and all is right in the world.  I wondered if this poor man saw the same movie and has been waiting 30 years for just the right moment to use that line. 

            Look, do what you got to do to get your kids motivated, but if you scream and fist pump about taking stuff back, I’m probably going to make fun of you, I don’t care how good or bad your team is.  I want my kid to play, be competitive and do his best.  But it is so stupid to act like such a, well you get the idea.  And please, feel free to tease me if I start yelling about being all we can be or some such garbage.

            So in the end the other team came back, won the game by one run and took back what was theirs, whatever that was, since in the end it’s a bunch of 6th graders who had no idea they took something to begin with.  It was a really good game, both teams played well.  Clearly, the difference was the stellar motivational speaking from the other teams coach (eye roll).  Thank God we have like 60 games left.  I figure that gives us plenty of time to find and take back whatever that other team took.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Hockey Stinks

            Six years ago in an effort to fend off mid-life crisis, my husband went out, spent $500.00 on brand new hockey gear and joined a hockey team.  Never mind the fact that he had never played hockey in his life, or that he was 36, or that he’s got a bum ankle.  He was a dad on a mission.  Our son was in beginner hockey and after some prodding from his coach, my husband took up his stick and hit the ice.

            Ahhh, the memory of my sweet husband barreling down the ice, unable to stop, takes out the goalie, not to mention the entire goal.  Priceless.  I have to hand it to him.  There is no way, I would put my fat butt out there on that rink, risking life, limb and dignity.  But he loved it, stuck with it and now he’s not that bad. 

            The only problem is the smell.  For the love of Pete, the smell that emanates out of his gear could clear Afghanistan of Al-Qaeda.  If the government could harness the stench, it would be a weapon of mass destruction.  Since he is always late to games, he just takes out the stinky underwear and undershirts and leaves them on the floor in the garage, which is where he keeps his gear.

            The first time this happened, I was concerned someone had dumped crime scene evidence in my garage.  I wonder if I need to contact the authorities?  Upon closer inspection I realize it’s just his delicates and such.  Really, I have to pick this atrocity up and get it to the washer?  Seriously, the washer is right inside the back door, probably 15 feet from where he leaves his carnage.

            The next time I see his stinky garments he at least got them in the door, but instead of opening the washer and putting them inside, they are laying on the floor in front of the washer, in all their glory.  Honestly, it’s so bad our dog, which eats his own poop, won’t go near them.

            That man, that wonderful man, what can I do.  I love him and I am glad he has found something he enjoys.  How many of us would have had the guts to try something completely new and foreign at age 36 and stick with it?  If he wins in the upcoming play offs, his team gets to play at the Pepsi Center, he is so excited.  I haven’t told him yet, but if he wins, we’ll go out for ice cream.  But if I have to keep washing his stinky skivvy’s, he is going to have to pay.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Show me the Sparkles

If you have never been to a cheer competition, you seriously do not know what you’re missing.  And that is probably a good thing.  My daughter asked to take a cheer class a year or so ago, I’m thinking how cute.  Pom poms, football games, a few toe touches, should be fun.

Not so fast sweetheart, there are no pom poms in competitive cheer, there are no football games, and not only is the kid doing toe touches and back hand springs, but they throw her so far up in the air, during one competition she flew out of the video frame as I was filming her.

She is so darn cute I forget that we have to sit in a grimy coliseum all day just to see her perform for 3 and a half minutes.  In those few minutes, she is a shining product of me, I’m her mom and I am so freakin proud.  She is so awesome as she flips and flops, I almost forget how expensive this dang sport is.  Cheerleading makes my son’s baseball and my husbands hockey cost look like a walk in the park.  Thank God there is a money tree in that park, I walk there often.

She is not the best on the team and not the worst.  We never win.  I won’t bore you with the intricacies of this sport, but we are just not “that” team, and that’s o.k.  We are on mixed age team and my daughter is the youngest at 9, and the oldest girl is 18, we are currently looking for a team with more kids her age.  I’m tired of explaining to her why she is not allowed to have a nose ring.

            My real complaint is with the uniforms.  They are white, not flattering unless you’re super skinny, which, thank God, my kid inherited that genetic blessing.  The thin gene skipped over her mother.  They have some blue and gold, but otherwise totally bland.  Even our bows are boring.

You should see the other teams, blinged out form head to toe.  The bows, the make up, the shoes, well maybe not the shoes, but sparkle everywhere.  I ended up buying sparkly stickers to put on the girls faces.  I guess I was trying to “keep up with the Joneses of cheerleading”, so to speak.  But our uniforms, not one rhinestone, I mean come on, what’s the point.

So as we look for new gyms, we look at the uniforms first.  I know, I know, I need to ask questions like, how long has your program been around, what kind of experience do the coaches have?  I do ask those questions, but lets face it, for this kind of cash, I want more sparkles.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What the Hell am I doing here?

          If you had told me a year ago that my son would be playing 60 plus baseball games this year I would have laughed.  I am not one of those moms whose life revolves around my kids, much less their sports.  I like my Saturdays and I was never athletic, so all this fuss over 11 and 12 year olds is a bit odd to me.  Nevertheless, my kid asked to do it, begged me and I said yes.  He’s a good kid, what could go wrong?

            A lot can go wrong.  Starting with me sitting on a dusty field, freezing my ass off, watching my kid implode in right field because he missed a ground ball. Of course this error causes the other team to score a run, maybe two, which is just great.  That’s not even the worst part, instead of running after the ball; he puts his head in his hands and just stands there, doing nothing, which is super great.   How in all that is holy did I put myself in a situation where other parents are yelling at my kid, I mean some of these parents are furious.  I’m thinking, “What the hell am I doing here?”

            Playing the devils advocate, I understand why the parents are angry.  My kid gave up.  He missed the ball, put his hands on his head and did not give chase.  I call this a “humbling parental moment”.  This is a moment when your kid screws up and everyone is thinking your parenting sucks.  I’m thinking my parenting sucks.  Some of you might ask “all because he missed a ball?”  As insane as this sounds I need to remind you I am talking about competitive sports parents, a whole different ballgame my friends, no pun intended.

            One part of me is furious.  “What is wrong with him, he just gave up,” I ask my husband, who looks as if he wants to crawl under a rock.  He shakes his head.  I’m thinking, pack it up, quit, and never return, this is not worth it.  I can see one parent fuming; I mean she is really pissed.  Seeing her reaction makes me realize, this is crazy!  Totally crazy, and I will not be apart of crazy, unless I’m drinking and in Vegas.

Now is the time for what I call “parenting for my peeps”.  I don’t really care about the angry parents.  Seriously, it’s a baseball game.  Let’s face it, as soon as the kid has a great play or at bat, in one of the next 60 plus game, did I mention that we are playing 60 plus games, this moment will be a memory.  Not to mention these parents are so not invited to his wedding.  I care about my kid, he is my people, and he is in need of some support.

Even though I really want to rip my kid a new one, I know this will do no good.  We have a long season, this is only the 3rd, oh, I already said that didn’t I?  He’s horrified; I can see it in his face, the awful realization that he caused his team to lose.  Then it dawns on me.  Here is a perfectly talented kid who got overwhelmed, and froze.

We’ve all been there.  In a situation we can’t handle.  Confronted by a mistake we can’t fix.   We hang our heads, start freaking out, and implode in front of the screaming masses, or at least that's how it feels.  How many of us have screwed up and done nothing, just stood there.  I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts that every parent at the game that day has been there too.

            I told my Kid, you bought and paid for that mistake so now you own it.  You can ignore, hide it in the closet, or you can set it on the mantel, look at it and figure out how to do better next time.  Either way it’s yours to keep.  I don’t know about you, but when I buy something new, I want to look at it.  Unless, I lied to my husband about what is cost, then I hide it for a few days, but that’s a different story.

We should see our mistakes this way.   We don't need to hide them, we need to look at them.  They can be life changing.  Of course, they hurt, they are painful, embarrassing and sometimes people scream at you for making them.  But no amount of screaming can make you change.  That part comes from inside.  When we honestly look at what we did, what when wrong and what we can do better next time, then the mistake loses it’s sting.   Hell, we might even be able to laugh at it.

            I am reminded to take a dose of my own advice.  My mistakes are mine and mine alone, I live with them, and only I can learn from them.  Its all right to make mistakes, but its not all right to give up.  Shake it off and say you’re sorry.  By the way, he apologized to his coach for being “whiney” his words, not mine.  I am not afraid of the “humbling parental moments,” they are great opportunities for learning, but I am afraid of some of those parents, yeesh.

            I can’t guarantee what will happen when he makes his next baseball mistake.  I hope he runs after that ball and finishes strong no matter what the outcome, but if we have to have this talk again, we will.  God knows I’m guilty of making the same mistake twice, sometimes ten, twenty times.  Sooner or later we learn from our mistakes and I’ll be there for my kid till he does.  I’m a proud sports mom, that’s what the hell I’m doing here.