Sports

Ada soccer close

You might not believe this since I’m the mother of six, but it’s is my first year being a soccer mom. I’ve avoided the stigma of soccer mom-dom for many years, for the same reasons that many mothers refuse to drive minivans: you feel like you have lost every bit of cool-ness and are now nothing but a slave to your children. Unlike a minivan, which is pretty much the greatest thing ever invented, soccer is a life-sucking drag. OK, it’s not really that bad. But somehow I ended up sitting on a soccer field three nights per week and for a few hours on Saturday.

Listen, I don’t hate team sports. Well, I kind of do, but my children–Adelaide especially–have been begging to play soccer for years. Yes, years. And when my friend Anna called saying her son and Jasper could carpool, I threw caution to the wind and signed up Ada and Jasper for the local soccer club.

Now I finally get it when people ask me incredulously how I juggle everything. Before we did soccer, life was pretty much a cake-walk, schedule-wise. We really only did piano lessons and those lessons were mostly before school. After school we just all hung out, I helped kids with homework, listened to tattling/fighting children and made dinner.  Once soccer started I was required to drop everything right at Prime Time and head over to practice. That meant that dinner became a pre-made thrown-together affair. If I was on top of things (ever so rare) I’d have some sort of crock pot thing ready. Most of the time, though, it was easy-to-heat up food like Kirkland pulled pork tacos (it is sublime meat, by the way). Better than McDonalds but I think feeding a family is a job that mothers need to take seriously.

Toward the end of the season I just dropped the kids off and went home, picking them up later. The field is only 5 minutes away so it’s not a huge commute. But then they feel bad that I never watch so I’d get sucked into staying. While I’m complaining let me just remind you that September and October are hot here in Texas, even at night, and sitting outside was definitely torture.

And then there were the games on Saturday. Saturday morning is my special time. My laze about time. Not my hustle-up-and-find-team-shirts-and-remember-that-it’s-our-turn-for-snacks-and-then-sit-in-the-hot-sun-for-three-hours time. And if you even suggest that I’m being selfish, pardon me while I laugh in your face. You can accuse me of being lots of things but when you’re a mom of this many kids, selfish is one thing that is simply not possible.

By the end of the season (which was last week) I realized that the whole family was suffering. Yes, two children got to do something fun but ultimately playing soccer wasn’t the biggest deal to them. I felt like it added a whole new layer of craziness to our lives. I wasn’t able to spend as much time helping the older kids with homework (and yes, older kids need help with homework and it’s way harder than learning times tables). I didn’t have that down-time to connect with everybody.

When I stopped to think about it, why were even playing soccer in the first place? Yes, the kids wanted to. But they also want to drink Hershey’s syrup straight from the bottle and stay up tip 11 pm. In other words, who cares what they want? But maybe they were soccer prodigies that would never have a chance to develop their talents? Uhhh, yeah. If they were born to play soccer we would have figured that out years ago.  Maybe so they could learn teamwork? They’re already on a team. Team Hildie and they’re on this team for eternity. Because they’re the only kids who’ve never played soccer and I’m starting to feel like a loser mom? Ahhh, now we have the real reason. It’s just the grown up form of peer pressure. Heaven forbid your kids aren’t the only ones taking dance/soccer/gymnastics. Kids don’t see the benefit of eating a nice dinner as a family every night. But experts have been saying that this is the one thing that determines whether kids take drugs or become successful. Not soccer.

It may make me sound like I should live in Communist China but what is good for the individual is less important to me than what is good for the whole. And soccer hasn’t been good for the whole. So toodle-oo shin guards, may we never meet again!

I don’t suppose I need to tell you about all the drama that conspired when I was trying to fix up India’s Homecoming dress. When you are Mormon you can almost never find a formal dress that is modest enough. Since all high school girls are out to look as trampy as possible, that’s what designers cater to. India went out shopping at the mall and had zero luck. She finally stopped by Ross and found a dress that was semi-modest and only cost $17. But it was about 5 inches too short and had no sleeves. While I personally don’t have a problem with sleeveless dresses, their are a lot of Mormons who do. The technical rule is that “shoulders must be covered”. Some people read into that and decide that a girl must be able to wear a hanes t-shirt underneath for it to be qualified as modest. But I have a more liberal view. Ultimately I left the choice up to India who decided that the dress needed some small sleeves; she wants to be a good example for all the younger Mormon girls. Which meant more work for me. And then there’s the whole skirt-length issue (who are these parents who let their daughters out of the house looking so slutty?) But I’m just sewing my way to a mansion in Heaven, right?

After finishing the version 1 of “India’s Modest Homecoming Dress” I realized that it looked terrible. The fabric I chose to add on–a lovely organza–was simply too stiff and made the skirt look preposterous. So at 2 pm (she had to be at the football stadium, fully dressed at 6:30) I went back to the fabric store and started at square one. I guess the Lord was throwing me a bone because I found some matching lace that looked pretty darn good. I managed to modestize the dress, do India’s hair and makeup and have her out the door on time. Phew! If I had actually been using my brain I would have bought a second dress at Ross and cannibalized it so the fabric would have matched perfectly. But like most days I forgot to turn my brain on.

In the evening we took all the kids, plus my sister in law who was in town (and her sister, and her niece) and went to the high school football game. During halftime Mister walked India out onto the field, along with the other Homecoming Royalty. The King and Queen are chosen from among the Princes and Princesses and crowned at the game. They gave us no idea ahead of time who would win. Some of the kids (the football players and cheerleaders) got really huge cheers from the crowd when they walked out which made me kind of sad inside because how can normal people like India compete against that? I mean, I would take India over a cheerleader any day. No offense to you cheerleaders and football players out there, but I would be pretty disappointed if one of my kids chose that path. Here in Texas it’s considered The Best Thing In The World. It really is like becoming royalty. And although we know a couple of great cheerleaders and football players, for the most part they are bratty jerks. It’s the culture that reinforces that behavior. It’s especially sad since you know a lot of those people peak in high school.

Anyway, Mister and India walked out with the other royalty. Eventually the king was announced and it was India’s boyfriend! Which meant that most likely that India would be the queen. But not necessarily. I mean, it would be super awkward to have another girl be the queen but it certainly is a possibility.  But then the announcer boomed over the loudspeaker, “and now the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the 2013 Homecoming Queen is  . . . . . [he waited about 30 seceonds]. . . . India!”

She won!!! I almost passed out! Never in my imagination would I have guessed that India would be a Homecoming Queen. Don’t get me wrong, as a child she is pretty much the ideal. She’s obedient and studious and never complains. She’s also funny, kind, pretty and incredibly smart. But those sorts of qualities rarely are acknowledged in high school.  And add to that the fact that she’s a choir girl (the choir president, to be exact) and her boyfriend is in the marching band; not exactly your typical Queen and King. But there aren’t two kids at school who are nicer and who deserve it more.

As we left the game she was a little hestiant to walk by “the cool kids”. When I asked her why, she replied, “they’ll probably say ‘Why did India win?’”. I stopped and looked and her. “India, you won because the most people voted for you. You have every right to be Homecoming Queen. And if anyone even suggest that you don’t deserve to win just look them in the eyes and say, “talk to the crown!”

India queen cropped

PS. Of course my iphone is a piece of crap that won’t focus anymore so I have only the most terrible shots from the actual Homecoming game. (And I forgot the charge the battery of my good camera.)  So I had to rely on some of the other parents who have it more together than I do. Story of my life.

Homecoming royalty 2013

P.P.S. The ultimate bummer is that the Homecoming King had a band competition in Houston the next day and she had to go to the dance all by herself.

Last Friday I went to work out with my friend, Anna. We’ve been going to Crossfit for about four months and we totally love it. Friday’s workout included box jumps which consist of–get ready for this–jumping onto a wooden box. With both feet at the same time. The boxes look like this:

wooden box

Mine wasn’t very tall but on the very last jump I managed to get my food caught in the handle and I came crashing down onto my left elbow. To say it hurt may have been the biggest understatement of my life. I immediately demanded that Anna take me to the hospital. Turns out my elbow hadn’t broken (yay!). It was just dislocated about three inches out of place. No wonder the dang thing hurt so badly!!!

The only amusing part of my little foray to the hospital was when the doctor came in and sat down beside me. She looked right at my chest and said, “two big breasts!” All I could think was, “well, I guess so but what does that have to do with my elbow?”  And then I noticed she was holding a stethoscope. Ooooh, two big breaths. That makes a lot more sense.

The doctor, who did not seem obsessed with my boobies after all, completely knocked me out when it was time to pop my elbow back into place, and I woke up with a partial cast from my knuckles to my armpit.

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It’s mostly just sore and achy now. I’m going to the orthopedist tomorrow to see what my long term verdict will be. I can hardly wait to see under all these bandages; I’ll bet I’ve got a horrifying bruise. But in the mean time I’m a little peeved at all of the things I can’t do one-handed such as drive (York has his permit, though, so that makes us a good team), blow my nose (think about it. Blowing your nose with one hand is just all wrong), and licking yummy food off of my left fingers. Can’t get them near my mouth, darn it! Also, it took a while to type this post. If I angle my arm just right I can reach the shift key, and letters a, s & w with my left pointy finger. You won’t be getting any detailed blog posts for a while. But I will be sure to include all disgusting photos.

P.S. Kudos to Anna, who not only took me to the hospital but also accompanied me to my colonoscopy a couple of months ago. True friendship, right there. And I didn’t even take her to get her mole removed last month! Shame on me!

It’s hard to watch the Olympics and not imagine yourself doing some of those sports. Even if you are a 41 year-old woman who hasn’t raised her heartbeat once in the last six months. So really this is all theoretical. It’s more about affinity than ability. But let’s consider the possibilities here. Some sports are a little more promising than others:

Archery: Not only is this cool, it requires not aerobic skill. And this will come in handy when the world ends. Zombies or no.

Javelin. Again, sharp sticks appeal to me. Although the female javelin-throwers look awfully strapping so I’m guessing I might be a bit on the wimpy side.

Any sort of jumping. I have long legs. They’ve got to help me in some way. And since I’m a pitifully slow runner, the racing events are out.

Anything equestrian. Well, aside from the fact that this sport is so breathtakingly expensive, I could definitely handle sitting on a horse. You don’t get out of breath, right? Then sign me up!

Sailing. This is actually something I’ve done before. You can’t live in the Great Lakes without spending time on a sailboat. Although my dad used to get pretty mad at me for being a moronic sailor.

The real question here is which sports I would be the worst at:

Diving. Heights? Check. Spinning? Check. Falling? Check. Water? Check. Well, those are all the things I hate most in the world. Why don’t the divers just scrape their fingernails on chalkboards on the way down too?

Water Polo.  Swimming and balls? Well, that’s just a recipe for disaster. Listen, I can tread water. Or I can catch a ball (uh, not really) but there is no possibility of me doing both at the same time. Plus I just can’t stomach the idea of a bathing suit that zips up the back.

Beach volleyball. I have bad memories of playing volleyball in gym class. (“Playing” being a relative term.) So imagine having to embarass myself not just playing volleyball but playing volleyball in a bikini. Diving and hitting and throwing in a bikini!!! What kind of kinky sadists came up with this idea? Oh yea, Californians. I wouldn’t do this sport as a favor to the world’s population.

Now that I think about it, my best chance at an Olympic gold medal is to wait for Cookie-Eating to become an event. Americans would dominate!

What are your best and worst events in your imaginary world?

Y’all, I still don’t have a computer. I can fight the kids to use the playroom computer, but mostly I’m limited to using my iphone. Blogging on an iphone is somewhere between maddening and suicide-inducing.

I can’t believe I’m not blogging about the Olympics! It’s been a frustrating ten days because not only do I not have a computer, we only have a TV that gets NBC and PBS. So I can’t watch anything. I shall not address the fact that the jerks at NBC have made it impossible for me to watch any of my favorite sports. You might think that the Olympics are an event for the world to come together but you would so very foolish. They are en event for only the people with cable to come together. But let’s discuss anyway.

I’m a huge fan of the lesser-known sports. (Although how things like Archery count as a sport, I have no idea.)  It infuriates me that NBC has decided that all I am interested in is swimming, gymnastics and running.  Don’t get me wrong, I like backflips as much as the next person. But I find the whole hair issue of female gymnast baffling to the point of distraction. Why are they wearing scrunchies? Do you know that their leotards cost around $500 each? And what do they think will compliment these pricey leotards? A scrunchie!  But who can see the scrunchie when there are approximately 17 hair clippies surrounding it? Gymnasts, please have a chat with some ballerinas. They have figured out how to keep their hair in place without looking like an elementary schooler who’s gone crazy at Claire’s.

Also, having painted nails is against the rules for gymnasts. Outlandish eye makeup is not (especially if you’re Russian). The fact that our poor Olympic girls can not have amazingly patriotic toenails is downright criminal!

The male gymnastics are a lot more interesting. Not just because I have a weakness for muscle-y arms and there are all these fantastic feats of strength (that pommel horse is cool!), but because there are contestants like these:


Nope, it’s not Napoleon and Kip Dynamite’s other brother. It’s Tomas Gonzales from Chile. And if that mustache doesn’t make you want to start singing YMCA then I don’t know what’s wrong with you.


You might think you’ve seen this Uchimura guy before. And you have if you watch Yu-Gi-Oh. I mean he looks like he walked right out of some Japanese animé cartoon. That kooky hair just makes me smile.

Enough about gymnastics; let’s move on to swimming. I personally have no feelings for or against Michael Phelps. I never root for him. I am a lover of the underdog. And Michael Phelps is the opposite of the underdog. All I know about M.P. is that his swimsuit always looks like it’s about 1 centimeter from falling off. He must use that tape to keep it in place like beauty pageant contestants. It makes me very uncomfortable.

Also swimming-related: I have a hard time supporting a sport where the women look just like the men. When they’ve got unitards and bathing caps on, they could be either one. Call me old-fashioned but women look better with breasts. My husband assures me that he believes this too.

My mother made me take swimming lessons at an indoor pool when I was very young. Swimming across the pool terrified me to no end. I was sure that I would drown right in the middle, being a very weak swimmer. To this day, walking into an indoor pool–hearing the echoes, getting a huge whiff of the chlorine–makes me have some sort of PTSD. (Also, I don’t like getting wet to start with.)  Thus, I cannot fully enjoy swimming.

I have so much more to say about the Olympics. I think I’ll try to chase my kids off the computer and blog again soon. What have you liked or hated most so far? At the end of it all I plan on having a beauty pageant and voting for the best looking athletes, so mark your choices down and let’s discuss.

 

 

Today is the 7th birthday of my youngest girl, Adelaide Amelia Clementine.  For her birthday she asked for a skateboard, a Texas Longhorns T-shirt, new tennis shoes, and a basketball hoop that is more her size. Can you say tomboy? (Sweet shot, Ada!)

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Finn, on the other hand, did not want to try out the skateboard or even attempt a basket. This is what he did instead.

 

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Not sure what to make of all this. Maybe that my kids do have one thing in common: they’re all strange.

National Pastime

September 26, 2008 · 2 comments

in Sports

Finn is in baseball right now.  Because we live in a warm place, little league is not just a summer thing.  Nope.  You can play in Spring and Fall too, if you are that dedicated crazy.

 If football is something your boy likes, he has a choice of flag or tackle; both are completely acceptable in the elementary school years.  And, lucky you, your son can play year round in Texas.  There are leagues for each season. Plus camps. Because football is extremely important here.  Not just popular–important. Even in pee-wee football there is tailgating before the game. 

And what goes with football?  Cheerleading, of course! Girls are cheerleading here as soon as they can walk. No girls have short hair in Texas because, my gosh, you have to be able to put it in a ponytail and wear multiple ribbons in your team’s colors.

Finn’s coach has one child.  Yep, he and his wife have decided to put all their eggs in one basket.  So we are treated not only to games, but practices and scrimages too.  The wife also send out the team’s stats after each game (laughable.  The typical batting average? Zero.)  Because baseball is serious for nine-year-olds. None of this cheering for everybody who tries.  Now you have to earn cheering. And if you happen to strike out (which happens all the time because they are nine, not in high school) the parents offer such gentle, encouraging nuggets as “shake it off” or “we’ll be hitting the batting cages extra hard this week!”.  If you try to be empathetic and let your child know that you understand and validate his disappointment by yelling something like, “Bummer!” or “I’m so sorry!” or “you’re great at hitting! You’ll do better next time!”, parents will turn and look at you like you’re the biggest idiot ever.   Because the official motto of sports is “it’s just a game”, but the real message is “we are spending lots of time and energy on you.  This is the most important thing you’ve done in your life so far. You’re making us look bad.”

And that is why we try not to do extra-curriculars.

Tri-what?

September 4, 2008 · 9 comments

in Sports

What is going on? It seems like every other person I know is training for a triathlon. Why triathlons? Why all of a sudden? Three years ago nobody was doing triathlons, and now I’m the only one who isn’t training.

Seriously, what is the allure? I don’t like running, but at least running kind of makes sense. Bike-riding seems extremely dangerous. All those cars just inches away; drivers busy messing with their ipods and cell phones. A recipe for disaster! Plus it makes my bum sore. And swimming? I can barely swim. I took many swimming lessons and I just didn’t get it. I could never manage to breathe properly without inhaling a lot of water. And talk about boring! Back and forth, back and forth. Nothing to look at. No scenery to take in. Can you even listen to an ipod in the water? At least on a treadmill you can watch old episodes of The West Wing.

Frankly I don’t get it. And I don’t really want to get it. Kind of like being a vegetarian. I’m sure it’s like a higher law or something and I’m just admitting what a slave to self I am, but that’s what I think. I am a slave to my body, and my body is telling me that it does not like triathlons one single bit. So there.

Beijing

August 19, 2008 · 6 comments

in Entertainment, Sports

Can you believe I haven’t blogged about the Olympics yet? What’s the matter with me? The matter is that we don’t have TV. Remember me pointing that out a few weeks ago, smugly and condescendingly? Well, I started feeling really awful that it’s the Olympics and my kids are finally old enough to care and we’re depriving them of this multicultural, yet patriotic, event. So I put Mister up to the task of getting the Olympics on at least one TV. He happens to be quite brilliant at all things electronic and TVish, and he managed to get us NBC and a few of the sister channels.

Mister and the kiddles have been avidly watching Michael Phelps who bores me for some reason. I’m really glad he’s a fast swimmer and all that, but I just don’t find his story very rousing. He eats 12,000 calories a day and that does inspire me. Because I would love to eat 12,000 calories a day. That, to me, would be motivation enough to become a great athlete.

I prefer all the oddball sports. I’ve always enjoyed fencing and York and India had fencing lessons for several months last year. They both loved it and York never once lost a match. Mister pooh-poohs it all and keeps being a complete drip about how important it is for the kids to play “socially acceptable” sports. Because if you win a gold medal, but it’s not televised, then you’re still a loser. Wacky thinking, no?

I love rhythmic gymnastics (tumbling with ribbons and balls? Sounds like something my seven-year-old daughter would invent) and synchrnonized swimming; Archery and sailing. And what’s this trampoline business? It was supposed to be on TV tonight but it got preempted due to Nastia Lukin sulking about only getting a silver medal. Competive trampoline jumping sounds fantastic.

NBC announced they would be showing coverage of all the unknown sports via internet. But due to the fact that NBC sold its soul to the Devil (you might know the Devil by his other name, Bill Gates), I cannot watch the Olympics on my Mac. I have oodles of RAM and a screaming hot connection, but poor me, my computer is three years old. No Intel processor so I’m out of luck. Mister occasionally connects his brand new Intel Mac to the TV and we can watch crusty old broadcasts of equestrian steeplechases, but it’s just not the same. There is no commentary (I never thought I would miss that silly drivel by Bob Costas, but I do), no fancy graphics. Just a bunch of people doing odd stuff and I’m left to sort it all out.

We tuned into the air gun event a few days ago. What a complete mystery! First of all, what is an air gun? I didn’t see piles of colored balls everywhere so I’m guessing they’re not the same thing as the airsoft guns that are so beloved by the teenage misfits in my neighborhood. The airgun “athletes” were wearing things like jeans and t-shirts. Not even patriotic “Team USA” t-shirts. Just clothes like they were going to run down to the 7-11 after they were done. As for the rules and competition, I could make no sense of anything. I was so uninspired by it all that I am not even interested in Googling it.

I happen to be a big fan of China and many things Chinese. (I even met Mister at the Chinese restaurant where I worked in college.) I tried to rent The Last Emperor to show my kids (don’t worry, not the entire three hours. Just a few bits and pieces.), but strangely enough no video store carries it. (Mister tried to tell me as I left the house on my quest for the DVD that I wouldn’t be able to find it. I wanted to prove that he was dead wrong. I mean it won the academy award for Best Picture in 1987! Mister got the last laugh and an “I told you so”.) So we settled for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. I just love that movie. For the kids’ sake we watched the dubbed version which was not bad at all.

I don’t know that my kids are going to be Olympic crazy like I was back in ’84. By the time I was 13 I pretty much had dedicated my life to TV. But at least I’ve given them the opportunity. I’m pretty sure I’m not raising any future Olympians. So this looks like it’s as close as they’ll get.