Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Stop Lying To Your Children Already!

Why do we tell children that they can be whatever they want to be in life? When they are young, I think we encourage this type of thinking so that they will explore the different possibilities of adulthood careers; you don't want to sink their ships before they've even set sail. But at some point you need to be honest with your child and give them a strong dose of reality. If you're not super smart, you'll never be a neuro-surgeon. If you can't hold on to the football, you'll never be a star running back, at any level. It is what it is. Bottom line.

I have a 15 year old son who has played some type of organized sport for over half of his life. Why? Because he wanted to and as a parent, you don't want your child to sit around doing nothing. Now, the latter may seem like the obvious reason but there is more to the story here.

Let's discuss Little League Baseball. As a child I spent countless summer days at the ball field watching the neighborhood boys play baseball. And every spring there were tryouts. And you know what? If you weren't good, you didn't make a team. And if you did make a team but were having an off day during a game, you got benched. Furthermore, if you didn't show up for practice you didn't play, no exceptions. Sounds reasonable, enough, yes? this day of "everyone deserves a chance at everything" the seemingly logically approach to youth sports is GONE!

Devin "tried out" for baseball every year. And every year he made a team. This is not to say that he isn't a good ball player, he is. However, the tryout procedure was merely a technicality so the coaches could stack the teams. Furthermore, there was always the kid who missed practice on a regular basis but was always in the game. And lets not even talk about the post-season "All-Star" season where the kids who were chosen were always the coach's kid who sucked or the son of the mother who ran the concession stand who couldn't hit a baseball if world peace depended on it. But that is not my point here. Today, the Little League Rules, yes RULES, state that if you're on a team, you MUST play at least a little. One or two innings, I think. And no one who "tries out" gets cut. What does this teach our children? That just because you want something you get it? Is that how life works? Hardly. In my humble opinion, it teaches our children that those who are dedicated to the team, who work hard during practice and show dedication to the team by going to practice day in and day out, are rewarded no more than the slug who shows up late or not at all for their hard work. This is just not reality.

Now, lets touch on football. In our area, at the middle school level, if you want to play football, you show up for the first practice in the fall before school starts and you're on the team. They don't even bother with the fake tryout process. And if you miss practices or perform badly during a game, you still get to play. Whatever!

My biggest problem with youth sports is this...when a child plays just because he/she wants to play for half of their life with no true dedication to the team or no reward for exceptional skill, they get a huge smack in the face when they get to the high school level. Just imagine for a moment, if you spent years and years playing a sport that you supposedly tried out for, played in every game and then all of a sudden you try out (for real) for your high school team and are cut. Or you're having an off day and can't seem to do anything right at all and you're benched. After the game, the coach throws a fit in the locker room about how poorly you performed and makes the entire team run until they puke at the next practice. The kid is left wondering what the hell is going on, it was never like this before. Youth sports often leave a child with a false sense of the team concept because some dumb ass thought that everyone should have a chance just because they want it or because their parents dumped a wad of money into the program. Does that do anything to teach a child about life? What is the point of allowing a child to believe that just because they want something bad enough they can have it when they are no good at "it"? And even worse, what is the point of allowing a child to believe they should continue to pursue something they are not good at? The truth of the matter is, even most athletes with phenomenal skill will never be professional athletes.

Thanks to Nance for planting the seed in my head for this post.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Seems Like Only Yesterday...

My baby is not a baby anymore. In less than one week he will be 2. Where does the time go? The other day I looked at him and noticed that his legs are longer than they seemed to be only a week ago. Is that even possible? Of course I know he did not grow significantly overnight, but seriously, am I really so unobservant that I don't even realizing my child is growing? I didn't think I was. But it makes me sad to think about nonetheless.

He's talking more and more everyday. I'm sure every mother of a toddler says that, I know. But he says things like, "Turn that music off, mom" while riding in the car or "I want to go to Grandma's house." He tells me daily, "I wanna go downstairs and rock on the the drums!" (Not real drums, thank GOODNESS, just the ones for the video game Rock Band). I mean really, those are rather large sentences for such a little guy. The other day while on the phone with my sister Micah said, "That's amazing!" Really? Amazing? I, personally, am impressed. And yes, I know I'm biased. But just a few months ago his vocabulary was quite limited and today there is not too much he can not say. Very rarely does he have a problem expressing his thoughts for lack of vocabulary. Once again it makes me ask, where has the time gone?

Of course I'm excited to watch my child grow and learn. There really does seem to be something new everyday. I'm just glad that I've always taken too many pictures, because I don't remember the day of his birth as clearly as I did this time last year. And that too makes me sad. Will I remember it vividly at all 20 years from now? I hope so. But just to be safe, "Say CHEESE!"

Saturday, March 20, 2010

So Sad...

Recently my community has been witness to some devastating events. A police officer lost his life in the line of duty. As the community grieves the loss of the officer, is seems to me as though we are forgetting that another man lost his life as well. Do I think that any person has the right to take the life of another? Absolutely not. But I feel torn apart inside when I read the news, see the television interviews, and over and over you only hear, "I pray for the officer's family..." Why? Because a tragedy is just that, a tragedy. Is it is fair to put a value on any one's life? Is one life more precious than the next? Sometimes awful things happen and we tend to focus only on one side of the situation. But I believe that it is important to remember that 2 families lost a husband, a father, a son. I find it hard to believe, even for just one second, that either family is grieving any more or less than the other. Death is death. The loss of a loved one is painful no matter what the reason. If you truly are a God loving person, then do not judge. Pray for all the families involved. Everyone needs to be comforted during times of mourning. Everyone.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I looked outside into my back yard other day to see a tulip breaking ground. YAY! Spring is just around the corner, I couldn't be happier. I'm beyond tired of this long Ohio winter. I really hope that we don't get anymore snow, which I know is not an impossibility. But, we shouldn't have anymore snow storms this year, I think.

Although Spring is not my favorite season, that would be fall, I do enjoy watching everything turn from grey to green. It's a sign of the fun to come. I think that Micah can sense it too, he asks to go for a walk whenever I mention to him that it's nice outside.

And so...

I'm looking forward to the late nights outside chatting with the neighbors about absolutely nothing while sitting around a fire on my patio sharing a beer.

I'm excited about seeing Micah's face when he finds a random dandy lion and picks it for me; he gets overjoyed when he can give mommy a flower.

I'm anticipating having my windows open and the smell of fresh cut grass waifing though my house as all the neighbors manicure their lawns.

I'm really happy about the prospects of my muddy back yard drying up so I can give the dogs a bath that will keep then clean for more than a day. My white dogs look brown right now and they STINK!

I'm elated at the idea of the sun being warm enough to bump me up a few (hundred) notches on the color spectrum. I'm looking pretty pale these days. Seriously, the other day at the gym when we were doing some mat work and I was looking around at all the exposed legs in the air, I could not differentiate my own from any of the white women's in my class. I need a tan.

Most of all, I'm delighted about the longer days to come. There is just something intoxicating about the sun shining at 8:30p.m. It really seems like I can get more accomplished in a day when the days are "longer".

Happy Spring, everyone! What makes you look forward to the warm and sunny days to come?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

For Me, Some Things Are Just Impossible to Understand

I do not consider myself to be someone who is technologically challenged. I try to stay up on the current ways of the world, otherwise, you just get left behind. Besides, I have a husband who is a bit of a tech junkie, as I've mentioned in the past, so I don't have too much of a choice in the matter. But even though I am quite capable of operating the tech gadgets that cross my path, I really am clueless when I try to imagine how they actually work.

I mean really, did you ever sit down and wonder exactly how you get music on your MP3player? I know the basics, of course. I plug the device into my computer, drag and drop a file and BOOM, there it is for my listening pleasure. But seriously, how does that happen? How is something the size of a credit card able to hold thousands of songs? Not to mention the countless pictures and full length movies. It boggles my mind!

And have you ever seen the inside of a computer? WTF? I turn the computer on and all the information I could ever want (plus some) is right there at my finger tips. But how? The guts of a computer just look like a bunch of scrap to me. Yet it really is the entire world, right there...crazy.

I received my Nook (2 weeks earlier than expected, YAY) and I turn it on, type in my email address and instantly there are over 100 books ready for me to read. All I have to do is touch "read" and there it is, without ever having to connect it to anything. Somehow the information magically transmits itself to the palm of my hand without any physical evidence that it is occurring other than the the screen displaying the word "downloading". But were is it coming from, how does it get to me, and why can't I see it happening?!

Honestly, I try not to think about this type of stuff too often. It can make me feel crazy inside. It's almost as though it just shouldn't be. It's unnatural, in a sense. And even though I consider myself to be a pretty intelligent person, I don't think I could wrap my head around all of this even if I had the most gifted of all scientists offering the explanation. Does anyone else ponder this stuff or do I just have too much time to let my mind wonder at night when I'm trying to fall asleep?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Because There is Such A Movie Buzz These Days

I like to watch movies, sometimes. I go through phases. Sometimes I will watch a couple of movies a day and then I won't see anything at all for several months. And I very rarely go to the movie theater; it is way too expensive to sit through something that I ultimately don't like. So when I do go on a movie kick, I prefer it be at home, on my couch, in front of my television with a bowl of popcorn and a tall glass of Pepsi. With ice please.

Here are my top 3 movies that I will watch over and over. And No, none of them are up for an Academy Award. In fact, I don't think I've seen any of those movies yet.

1.Harry Potter 1,2,3,4,5 or 6. Yes, that is technically 6 movies on my top 3 list but it is what it is. I'm putting them all into one category. I love Harry Potter, in the book and on the screen. You should already know that about me. Moving on. I will watch a Potter movie several times in one day, if it's showing. And you better call in the back up dinner maker/house cleaner if there is a Harry Potter weekend movie marathon. Love it.

2.Crash. I've not been able to watch this movie nearly as much as I would like to. But that does not make it any less fabulous. Not only is the story line fantastic, it's true. All the stereo tying and racial slurs are spot on. They say things in that movie that we have ALL thought at some point in out lives but don't dare say out loud.

3.Pulp Fiction. I love this movie for the story, the actors and of course, the music. And I want someone to lie to me and tell me that they've never recreated the dance scene between John Travolta and Uma Thurman. Anyone who has ever seen this movie has done some form of this dance. And the quotes. There are so many fantastic quotes from this movie but I will share just one...

Jules: The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.

Care to share your favorites? Comment away.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Truly Wonderful Day!

President Obama recently visited my area. I was absolutely overjoyed when I learned he was coming and equally disappointed when I learned that I'd missed my chance to get tickets to see him speak. So I did the next best thing, I bundled up my sweet Micah and we waited outside for the Presidential motorcade to pass by.

We waited on the main street he was to travel down for just over an hour before Our President drove by. I was so pleased to have my son, niece and nephew there to experience it too. I got a pretty decent video of the procession but it was kind of hard to do as Micah, naturally, had no idea what was going on would have no parts of staying in his stroller. So I had to hold him as I tried to capture this small, yet huge piece of wonderfulness on camera. I hope to share that video with you soon.

But in the meantime, I do have some pictures from that day's event that an old high school friend was kind enough to let me post here. This is Kim and her son Reece:
Kim's son wanted very badly to go see President Obama speak but she was unable to get tickets. For several days she was on Facebook asking anyone who had tickets to the event and couldn't attend to please pass them on to her so she could take her son. No such luck on that though so she was planning on taking him to see the motorcade like most of the people without tickets would most likely do.

I started hearing rumors late Thursday night about where President Obama was supposed to be going for lunch. I thought that maybe I'd take my chances and try to go there but I dismissed that idea just as fast figuring the Secret Service would have the place on lock down and wouldn't be the slightest bit swayed by Micah's sweet face and his chant of "OBAMA! OBAMA!" (Which eventually turned into a chant of OGRANDMA! OGRANDMA!) I never really thought of going to this place for more than about two minutes, literally. But Kim took her chances and headed to the restaurant/bar where Obama did in fact dine early Friday afternoon. Even better, she and her son were able to meet him and have this awesome photo-op! I'm so happy that her son will have such a wonderful memory and story to share with his own children someday. And I'm super grateful that she let me share the pictures with my readers!

I believe Kim will be stopping by and hopefully she will give us more details in the comments about how the experience was for the two of them...hint, hint!