Sweat, Braces, and Love

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Advice, Communication, Confidence, Connections, Conversations, Growing UP, Life Lessons, Sports, Teenager, Teenagers, Women | Posted on 15-11-2016

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The question was posed in email by the head soccer coach to all of the parents: Can any of you help out this season? I need an assistant coach to help run practices and be at the games.

I can. But I will not.

I mean, I have other things to do. Like work, like family, like my own exercise. Surely, another parent can volunteer.

Then I thought: I have coached my daughter and son’s soccer teams before. I play on a rec team as an adult. I know a thing or two about the game. I do love to be around kids. Maybe it won’t be too much of a time suck: practice twice a week, one game every Saturday. And whaddya know, my nearly-14-year-old daughter encouraged me to coach. (That was enough for me to say yes right there…um, my teenager wants me there?!)

I’m in!

I filled out the background check and took the concussion test and sudden cardiac arrest test. I showed up to the first practice a little begrudgingly. I mean, it was still hot August and I could have been kicking back at home with Otis in the shade. Plus. So many teenagers. It was a little daunting.

A few fathers showed up to volunteer and then disappeared after the first practice. Looks like they are stuck with me!

I was warmly welcomed and surrounded by 17 young women full of chatter, giggles, hormones, and braces–as it is with 13- and 14-year-olds–and I was instantly comfortable. I made the right choice.

Within 10 minutes, I knew everyone’s name.

Throughout the season, I gave feedback, high-fived, shouted encouragement, joked, gave pats on the back, talked 1:1 on the sidelines. Assistant coaching was so much more than helping the players improve their soccer skills. I was a supporter, a listener, an encourager, a guider, a trusted friend (and occasional chauffeur).

Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays. Those were soccer days! A chance to make connections, be a positive influence, and build confidence.

Navigating life can be tough for young teenagers struggling with self-confidence, peer pressure, school demands, family issues.

Sure there were foot skills and dribbling, conditioning, building a strong defense, and taking shots. But there was oh so much more. It was a supportive team that built each other up. The players as individuals truly cared for one another. We learned and grew.

That Fall soccer season, I received so much more than I gave. I know for a fact that I was surrounded by sweat and braces, and love. #winning

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The Best in the World

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childrearing, Children, Contest, Encouragement, Mothers and Daughters, Mothers and Sons, Sports | Posted on 19-08-2016

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I have been actively watching the Olympics each night. Actively, I say, because I yell on the sidelines sofalines. I cheer and yell loudly. My enthusiasm makes the swimmers stroke longer and the sprinters run faster.

YOU CAN DOOOOOO IT!

They can. They do. And they win.

My eleven-year-old had a track meet this spring, where all fifth graders from all five elementary schools in our town gathered and competed. It’s a ritual that’s been going on for decades. They perform all of the traditional track and field events. Except pole vaulting. Oh, and the discus is a frisbee. But whatever.

But the sprints? Sheer speed. It’s a nail-biter to see who the fastest fifth grader is in town.

My son competed in the 75-meter sprint. The gun went off and he flew. I couldn’t contain my cheering: GO! YOU’VE GOT THIS!

He went. And he got it. A blue ribbon. And a huge smile.

He is the best in the my world.

When it comes to sports, do we love our children more when they win? Or do we love that our children are healthy? Or do we love that our children are becoming independent and confident?

Healthy. Independent. Confident. As a mother, I want my children to be winners on the inside. But a blue ribbon from time to time doesn’t hurt. 🙂

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The $100 Dollar Bill

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Life Lessons, Milestones, Mother, Mothering, Mothers and Sons, Sports | Posted on 06-10-2015

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Now that my sixteen-year-old son is driving, he runs errands. He makes decisions. And he buys his own football cleats.

Except, he still needs me for money.

When the time came to get a new pair of football cleats, I handed my son a $100 dollar bill from the red envelope that contained my gift money from last Christmas. Money saved for “something special.”

Bring me back the change!

He drove. He shopped. He returned with a sparkling new pair of cleats.

Mom, you owe me $28.

What?!

Football season is well underway. As I watch my son tackle, sweat, and work so hard, I am so proud. Post-game, I always get a big, sweaty hug and smile.

So, yeah, that $100 bill was indeed used for something special.

Friday night lights.

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In Like A Lamb, Out Like A Lion

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Metaphor, Mothering, Mothers and Sons, School, Sports | Posted on 12-06-2015

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Football practice at the high school started up a few weeks ago.

The soon-to-be incoming freshmen–still eighth graders–with their eager faces, thin bodies, adorned in Under Armour and Nike logos, get out of their Mama’s SUVs as they get dropped off for practice. These boys who are all big time in middle school get a reality check as they step onto high school grounds.

Their jaws sorta drop. Not so big time anymore.

As the boys look around, they are surrounded by men. Men who cut their t-shirts into tank tops to show off their muscles. Men with facial hair. Men who drive.

Hey freshmen! Meet the juniors and seniors!

Two years ago, I was one of the Mamas in a SUV who dropped off her eighth grader amidst confident young men ambling to practice, laughing and strutting. I remember thinking: whoa!

Now, my son is one of those…one who borrows his sister’s special fabric-cutting scissors to transform perfectly nice t-shirts.

Another season is upon us…

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I’ve Got Spirit, How About You?!

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Confidence, Encouragement, Mothering, Parenting, Sports, Uncategorized | Posted on 17-01-2014

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I always wanted to be a cheerleader. But I never tried out.

I yelled loudly. I knew the cheers. I had spirit.

But I lacked the confidence to try out. You know what? I was on the tennis and track team at my high school. Yep, total jock. 🙂

It wasn’t until years later that I gave cheerleading another try. When I became a parent.

You can find me on the sidelines at most games. Football, soccer, basketball. I yell. I cheer. I have spirit.

Win or lose, I am my childrens’ biggest fan.

I. Am. A. Cheerleader.

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Win or Lose

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Dreams, Encouragement, Kids, Life, Love, Mother, Mothering, Mothers and Daughters, Mothers and Sons, Sports | Posted on 10-01-2014

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I love the Olympics. I love Moms. I love emotional commercials. I love Tide. And I love this P&G commercial about all that mothers do for their children to support them as they follow their dreams…picking them up when they teeter and totter as toddlers…driving them to all of their practices and events…tending to their wounds…and then cheering them on at the Olympics, and beaming when they win their medal.

Olympic medal?? Wait!

But what if they don’t win a medal? Or don’t make the Olympics? Or don’t make the varsity team? Or don’t make the team at all? Or are the worst player on the team? Or kinda suck at sports in general?

Do we love our children any less?

Do we love our children more when they win and are good athletes and are successful?

Do we love our children less when they lose or fail or fall below our expectations of them?

This commercial got me thinking about how I parent. And how I want to always support and love my children. Always and all ways. Unconditionally. When they dream big and achieve and are successful. When they fail or make mistakes. When they fall below my (high) expectations of them.

I am not a mother of an Olympic athlete in training. But we are heading to a soccer tournament this weekend. I’ll let you know if I love my daughter more or less, come Monday. Wink.

What form!

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Proud on the Sidelines

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Attitude, Mothering, Mothers and Sons, Parenting, Sports, Teenager, Teenagers | Posted on 25-09-2013

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My son’s high school team lost their last football game.

The team walked off the field in a line, heading towards the locker room. Their heads hung low. Their bodies showing defeat. They were the quietest I’ve even seen them.

Then I spotted my son, who looked at me and gave me the biggest grin. He veered away from the line of defeat and exclaimed, “Hey Mom! Good to see you!” And then proceeded to give me the biggest hug. Yep. Right in front of everyone. And get this. He added, “Thanks for coming to my game. Even though we lost, I did my best.”

“Good to see you too! I’m so proud of you!”

(Don’t get me wrong. I love winning.)

But that young man–with that grin and that hug and that positive attitude–he was a winner. I was proud on the sidelines, prouder-than-a good-win-proud.

proud_of_u

 

Sometimes Sons Wear Unitards

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Childrearing, Children, Parenting, Sports | Posted on 22-10-2012

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Sometimes I think I know my kids so well. What they are thinking. What they will choose.

I sometimes think they’ll follow a certain path that I have “envisioned” for them. Then when they choose something different, I think to myself, wow. I’m not really in charge anymore.

My children are becoming independent.

And then I’m sorta proud.

Take my son for example. He’s 6 feet tall and he’s 13 years old. Yeah, he’s a natural fit for basketball. I assumed he would play it all through high school. And get a scholarship. I was envisioning Hoosiers.

Yet, this son of mine has no interest in basketball. Just because he’s tall, doesn’t mean he wants to play. And just because I thought he should try basketball, doesn’t mean he wants to.

He told me the other day he wants to try wrestling.

Wrestling??! My first thought was Nacho Libre.

The Mexican wrestling masks. The unitards.

My second thought was this is SO not Hoosiers.

But my son’s football coach encouraged him.

After I thought about it and rewatched Vision Quest, I’m totally supportive of my son’s choices.

Even if the unitards are dorky.

Mouth Guards And Wings

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Advice, Babies, Boys, Childrearing, Confidence, Emotions, Encouragement, Family, Life Lessons, Love, Mother, Mothering, Mothers and Sons, Parenting, Sports | Posted on 20-09-2012

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At the hospital, the nurses told me to hold my newborn like a football when I fed him.

Now this six-foot-tall young man plays football. With swarms of teenager girls watching.

I was not prepared for this.

I have mothered this boy-man for 13 years. As the years and milestones pass, I try to support his independence, steer his choices, but ultimately let go. And it’s difficult.

One of my favorite parenting mantras is:

“There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give to our children. One of them is roots. The other is wings.”

I’m better at the roots part. You know, the love and nurturing part?

I am trying to be better at the wings part.

Take for example, football. Do I want my son playing a sport where his body is jostled around and he is required to wear a mouth guard–not only to protect his pretty teeth but to prevent jaw injuries at mega impact? It’s nerve-racking signing all of the concussion waivers. It’s also kinda awesome seeing him in his full gear–with helmet and pads–looking like a man.

He really really wants to play. And he is committed to doing his best.

I am proud of his dedication and enthusiasm. And because of this, I must let go and let him grow. And be his cheerleader.

I can’t help but think of the children’s song, Eagles, which sums up my belief in raising children: letting go.

May this big boy of mine fly down that football field with his mouth guard and his budding wings. I will be watching with love, support, and faith in him. And I may also be sporting a tear or two.

These pictures show me with my son then…now.

 

Run Oscar Run!

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Attitude, Life Lessons, Pop Culture, Sports | Posted on 06-08-2012

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One word for Oscar Pistorius, the South African Olympian runner with artificial limbs: awesomeness.

I mean, I tear up at the Olympic athlete stories. Their stories of struggle. Their stories of sacrifice.

But Oscar Pistorius?

This guy has no legs. He had both legs amputated below the knee as a baby and wears prosthetic limbs.

And he ran the 400-meter semi-finals in the Olympics.

Awesomeness.

And I’ve been complaining that I have callouses on my toes.

Dude.

There are naysayers who say his artificial limbs give him an advantage over runners with regular Olympic legs. Are you kidding?? Maybe those naysayers need to walk in Oscar’s shoes for awhile.

Oscar is a true athlete, with amazing ability, attitude, confidence, inspiration, and spunk.

I will never complain about my toes again.