Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The New Kid

Change is tough.

Coach and I had a lot, and I mean A LOT, of discussion before he decided to trade in the orange and blue for some purple. We knew there would be changes. And most of these are way more important than which color you wear on Friday nights. Yes...there are more important things. This would be a major transition for all of us, especially the boys.

Jaxon, our younger one, is pretty outgoing and adjusts to things relatively easily. Devin, however, is more reserved. I worried about how changing schools would effect him most. He was much more established at Woodland. His friends are there. But, I knew that kids change schools all the time, and they survive. I hoped Devin would too. He had been supportive of his dad's decision thoughout the process. So, I knew he had a good attitude about it. Or so I thought.

I picked him up after the first day, and he announced that he didn't think he was going to like Ranburne. Then he proceeded to tell me all the reasons why. He was mostly worried about being tardy to class. At Ranburne, the 5th grade in located in the high school building. Devin had heard talk about the tardy bells and was letting it make him nervous. I tried to explain to him that the teachers realized they were 5th graders and that everyone would help him know where to go. I encouraged him to give it some time. I acknowledged that I knew it was tough, but I urged him to try to be positive and make the most out of it.

I was feeling pretty good about my parenting skills when Coach made it in from practice. We began to discuss how our days had gone. Then he told me about seeing Devin during the day. His schedule has him going from the elementary school to the high school during the high school break time. He told me that while he was walking by, he saw Devin at break. He was standing all by himself. Completely alone.

My heart broke. First, because I could see my precious baby standing there alone, feeling out of place and uncertain. Like any parent, I hate to think about things being hard on my boys. And, I knew there was nothing in the world I could do about it. I can't drive to the school during break and stand with him. I can't make friends for him. I felt kinda useless. And, to make matters worse, I saw the hurt on Coach's face as he struggled with it. Seeing Devin that day made him question if he'd made a selfish decision. He wondered if he'd made things hard on the boys for no reason. So, heart-broken mom had to put on her good wife hat and reassure him that Devin would be fine.

And by Friday, I believed that I'd told him the truth. Devin got in the car, smiling and saying that everyone in his class finally knows who he is. Later that night, at our Jamboree game, one of the girls in his class came over to talk to us. She said she'd met Devin at school, but she wasn't surprised if he didn't remember her name since he'd been too busy "...running from all the girls who are chasing him. Literally. Chasing him."

Yep...I think he's going to be alright.

We all are. They say that different isn't always better, but better is always different. So, while we all have a little adjustment to make, we'll get there.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Fish Out of Water

Having been a Coach's wife for almost 12 years, I have gained a wealth of knowledge about various sports. I thought I knew a lot when I got married. I remember my mother saying that you should learn the rules of the sports you watch. So I did. But, over the years, I've learned that there's so much more to it than I'd ever imagined. Even after so many years, I'm still learning about football, basketball, and baseball.

So you can imagine how I must be feeling now that my older son has decided to focus on a sport outside "the big 3". I have no idea what I'm doing, but we're about to dive head first into the world of competitive swimming.

A couple of years ago, I'd asked Devin if he would like to get involve in competitive swim. He's a natural in the water, and he's built just like a swimmer. But, at that time, the thought of racing didn't interest him. A few weeks ago, he came to me and asked if he could join a swim team. So, I looked for one nearby. (I use that term loosely, because we live in the geographic center of nowhere.) And I found a program within a reasonable distance. Tryouts will be the first week in September. I'm a little excited about it.

Coach and I agree it's a good opportunity for Devin to experience competition on this level and a great way for him to improve strength, endurance, and agility. He understands that it will be hard work and time-consuming. But he's excited. His response to my lecture about how he'd have to be committed and endure hard practices and how it wouldn't be just going to the pool for fun: "Well, even if I'm working hard, that would be kinda fun." That's exactly the attitude he should have about any sport.

Anyway, like I said, I know nothing about the world of competitive swimming. But I have enough sense not to show up at the tryout next month looking like I know nothing. I don't want to be unprepared and embarrass Devin. He's 11. If I embarrass him now, it'll be over. He still thinks his mom is cool enough. But if I make him go to practice in the wrong trucks or something, he will never forget it.

So, I do what I always do when I don't know what to do. I turned to the Internet. From my days as a cheerleader, I know a thing or two about tryouts. It's important to look the part, right? So I started looking for goggles, swim caps, and trunks, which aren't called trunks in competitive swim, they're called "jammers".

My son is a strapping young man. Standing at almost 4'7" and weighing in at a whopping 55 pounds, Devin has a 20 inch waist. His hip measurement, 23.5 inches. So, he's a little on the thin side. I was worried about finding jammers small enough for him. The smallest size I could find was a 22. According to the size charts, a 22 should fit a 22 waist measurement and a 28.5 hip measurement. Dev isn't quite there, but I thought this would work.

I should've done a little more research before ordering them. I was worried that they'd be huge and fall right off. I knew they needed to fit tightly. So, I was anxious for them to get here. When I took them out of the package, my mouth fell open. Tiny doesn't even begin to describe them. And when I asked Dev to try them on, he looked at me like I'd lost my mind! Jaxon pleaded with him not to even put them on saying that they looked like baby clothes. But, Devin is a good child who does what he's asked, and he squeezed himself into them. Bless his heart. He told me he didn't even know how he got them on. They are definitely going back. Good thing I got an early start.

I hope his tryout goes more smoothly than my preparations for it! But, hey....live and learn, right? I'm definitely in new territory for me, but I'll gladly wade through it for one of my children. I'll let you know how the tryouts go.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Training like a Warrior (or an idiot!)

Have you ever just decided to do something, and then, the minute it's too late to turn back, you had to ask yourself, "What am I thinking"?

A couple of weeks ago, a friend told me about the Warrior Dash. She was interested in participating and was looking for a few brave souls to join her. So, I Google it and read the following: The Warrior Dash...where 14 obstacles from hell await you along this 3.2 mile course... And for some reason, I kept reading. According to their Facebook page, Warrior Dash is a mud-crawling, fire-leaping, extreme run. This fierce running series is held on the most challenging and rugged terrain across the globe. Warriors conquer extreme obstacles, push their limits, and celebrate with live music, beer, and Warrior helmets.

Now, I don't care for beer, but something about the rest of it sounded fun. The proceeds go to the St. Jude's Childrens Fund, making it for a great cause. I guess that's why I decided to even consider it. So, after mulling over it for a few days, I made an impulse decision and registered.

I exercise and run regularly, but by no means do I think I'm in good enough shape for this kind of challenge. But, it's a good excuse for me to step up my training. Running is more fun when it's for a purpose, and frankly, I'd gotten bored with it lately. So, the Warrior Dash is a good source of motivation. With that in mind, I began pushing myself a little harder this week. And let me just say...wow! How can I run 4 miles 4 times a week but I can't jump rope for 1 minute without wanting to die?! Obviously, I have a long way to go and only 2 months in which to get there. Wish me luck!

My goal: I want to finish! I just want to see if I can. The good news, and the bad news, is that there are a few other young ladies from Woodland running the Dash at the same time. It's bad news because they are much younger than I am and most haven't even had babies, which all of us moms know just isn't the same. This will be a piece of cake for them, while it'll take everything I've got. They're going to make me feel old! It's good news though,  because maybe they can drag my limp, lifeless, old, worn-out body across the finish line if I can just get close! Or at least dial 9-1-1. 
I know I'm crazy, but it might be fun. Come run it with me! www.warriordash.com

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

So it Begins...

August 6th probably seemed like just another Monday to most people. But, at 11:30 that morning, I was reminded that there were "...six and a half more hours until Christmas Day!" I'm entering my 12th season as a coach's wife, which makes me something of a veteran. So, it makes sense that I didn't even have to ask. But, some of you may be wondering.

August 6th, 2012 was the first day of official football practice.

And so it begins, the four-month gauntlet that is a high school football season. After a summer of workouts, the team and their coaches are ready to really get started. The excitement level almost matches the temperatures. There's a lot to do. The season opens with a jamboree in a few short weeks.

There's added excitement in Ranburne this year, the kind that comes with change. We all need to do something different sometimes to reenergize ourselves. Shaking things up is good for football teams too. The toughest opponent a team can face is complacency, in winning or losing. The Bulldogs have not been as successful as they would have liked the past few years, and while Coach isn't a miracle worker, maybe he can be a spark that ignites a fire. Maybe that will make a difference. Whatever effect he can have, it won't happen overnight. But, it will be interesting to watch.

It has made a difference in him. I've enjoyed watching his enthusiasm the past few weeks. He thrives under pressure and enjoys a challenge. In Ranburne, he's found both. Not only is he getting to teach, which he loves, but he's getting to learn about who he is as a coach, without the safety net he was used to. 

The start of the season is the end of summer for me. Coach helps so much when he's home in the summer that it feels like the weight of the world falls on me when I lose him to football. The first day of practice is not Christmas Day for me, but it may be Christmas before I see Coach again from any distance closer than the bleachers. I'm not a bad sport though. If all I can do is watch him from the stands, then I'll be there with bells on. 

I can't wait for the season to officially begin. There's nothing like high school Friday night football. No matter what color you're wearing. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Going for Gold

Okay. I'll admit it. I'm one of those people who are mildly obsessed with the Olympics. I love them. Can't watch too much. My television stays tuned to the coverage constantly. I mean, what's not to love?

I love the whole premise behind the Games. The whole country is united in their support of these incredible athletes. It serves as a reminder of all that's great about the United States of America. And I don't think I'm overstating things. It's amazing what sports can do.

Collectively, Team USA is a source of pride for all of us watching back home. They represent us well. Individually, I must say, they are true inspirations. It's amazing to watch people who have dedicated so much of themselves to a goal. The amount of sacrifice, dedication, and motivation these athletes have is unreal. I think this is the source of my fascination with every minute of Olympic coverage.

As a child, I watched the games, rooting hard for our home team and hoping for bad luck for competitors from the other countries. Now, I realize that they've all worked equally as hard. Naturally, I held my breath as I anxiously watched the US women's gymnastics team win gold last night. But, my heart broke for Anastasia Grishina from Russia when she came off the floor exercise in tears after a disappointing performance. I wanted us to win, but I know then Russian women had worked hard too.

I think one reason that so many of us are drawn to the Olympics is that, on some level, we can all relate to these athletes. We don't have to be the most decorated athlete ever like Phelps to understand what it's like to work hard for something. We take those Olympic qualities of hard work, challenging oneself, competitive spirit, refusing to give up, and so many more into our everyday, regular lives. So, yes, we can relate. To the gold medal moments and Anastasia Grishina moments as well.

We have all devoted time and dedication to the pursuit of some success. Now, I'm not saying that something like my tackling trying to teach two different advanced placement courses this upcoming school year is the same as Missy Franklin swimming a semifinal and a final 20 minutes apart. Nor am I saying that Coach's move to Ranburne is just like Ryan Lochte relentlessly working over the past 4 years to find a way out of Phelps's shadow. But, there's a little Olympian in anyone who sets goals, challenges themselves, and refuses to be defeated.

I really do believe that... I think I'll go get ready for my Wheaties Box photo shoot now. You should probably do the same.
Fab Five wins Gold
Michael Phelps wins 19th medal

Anastasia Grishina