health, working women

A Girl in Uniform

“If you ever get lost or need help, look for someone with a name tag or uniform on.”

These are the words we told our kids at places like Disney World when they were little, just in case. People in uniforms should be able to help.

I’m an avid sports parent. I love to show up and watch my daughters play, no matter the sport, no matter the team. I even try to go cheer for them when they are coaching or officiating games. Both of my daughters are refs for girls lacrosse.

Recently, one of my daughters had the honor of officiating youth championship games. I showed up to watch her in action. Hundreds of little kids, googles falling off, uniforms that don’t quite fit on their tiny bodies, all trying to get the hang of a sport I love, it brought back so many good memories. Games on Saturdays. Cheering for your team. Trophies and snacks after the game. And my daughter, once a youth player, now the ref.

Being a ref is not for the faint of heart. I know my attitude toward refs changed when my older daughter became one. Suddenly the heckling from the fans and coaches felt very personal. Why are they attacking her? Do they really think she is being paid by one team to make those calls? Don’t they know she’s a human and can hear their nasty insults? And if she can’t, I can?

My daughters each have very different personalities but they exude a cool, calm confidence on the field. They address irrational adults when necessary. It seems it is always the adults, very rarely the players who are ill-behaved. Unfortunately, bad behavior by at least a couple of adults is more the rule than the exception at these games.

In the end, though, it’s about the players. I remind them that the little girls are looking up to them. They are learning how to be fair. How to accept small setbacks like fouls and share the wins with their team. They are learning how to lead from a girl like them, just a few years further down the road.

I also tell them that some of the best refs are also teachers. Each of my daughters has almost a decade of field playing on their resume. They often know much more about the game than the coaches and spectators. So when a young high school team kept making the same fouls over and over, my daughter offered to demonstrate ways to prevent getting those fouls. They share knowledge and grow the game.

It’s a proud mama moment for sure, to see my girls nurture young players through their role. I cheer for the refs.

Before the championships, I called my youngest over to the fence for a quick pregame chat and picture. A minute later, a little girl, goggles half off, uniform all askew, came up and got her attention. My daughter walked her to the stands, helped her find her parents, then waited by the fence until her dad returned from the car. The little girl needed a jacket during warm ups.

I love that this little girl still thought to ask someone in uniform to help her. Despite what some adults might tell you, the ref is there to help.

challenges

Delays

Today I went to my child’s sporting event despite the incoming storm. I saw the grey skies. I smelled the damp air. I looked at the weather app and just had that inkling that we wouldn’t make it through a complete game. 

I normally arrive early but today I pushed the time envelope. Hoping I’d get the cancelled call before wasting my time. That was a big fat NO. As I pulled into the parking lot the lights sparked in the sky. Lightning of course. The strike was within a few miles. The clock starts at 30 minutes for the delay.

Oddly enough the rain stopped. The thunder persisted. About 22 minutes into the delay another lightning bolt illuminated the sky. Big sigh. The clock resets for another 30 minutes. Idle time is not my strong suit. The girl’s room begins to call my name. I wait patiently. Ah, we made it through the 30 minutes.

The game starts. We play for about 17 minutes. The referees call for a time out. It’s an extended time out. The game is tied 3 to 3. The dark clouds are moving in like wild fire. Tick tock. The extended time out runs about 8-9 minutes. Why tonight? they say in the stands. The kids want to play.

Lightning strikes again. The 30 minute clock begins again. The third time is a charm right? Game cancelled is shouted over the loud speaker. No sorry my error. Please continue to wait in your car. No rain. The perfect time to play, but rules say 30 minutes to clear the area for lightning. 25 minutes into the delay the game is officially called off. The heavens opened up.

The storm continued through the night into the morning. Lots and lots of rain, thunder, lightning. Storm damage. 
The day began for me. More delays. A delay at gym. Just about 1 minute but a delay. Picking up at the dog groomer, a delay. This time 15 minutes. No biggie. Just wasted time again. The dog store. Delayed opening for covid hours. Just another 30 minutes. Hmm seems like the last 24 hours I’ve been in delay land. Not my usual 24 hours but I’ll say I enjoyed my delays.

My idle time. The empty unplanned time. I made good use of it. I read a little. I wrote a little. I thought a little. I even did a little of nothing. Just staring into space. 

A delay could be negative but I made it a positive. I found time to giggle. I spent some time with people. I was productive in a very different and unplanned way. That’s my perspective for today on delays. Maybe I will be more purposeful in making delays in the future. 

It’s a good way to slow down your time clock when life revolves around time. Your time.

family

The Busy Week

It’s Monday night. A long day at the office already. It seems like it should be Friday but the week has just begun. The busy week. As if every week isn’t already busy, this one is extra busy.

Three games for the teenager. 5 days of carpool or riding in circles as I call it. Work. Consulting. Research. Taxes. Oh how the list goes on and on. I wouldn’t be happy sitting idle but a breath of fresh air is good for the soul. As the workday ends, I go into the Monday mist.

As the sun sets the air becomes chillier. The rainy mist on this Monday made it just a bit cooler outside than I like. I was off to game one for the teen this week. I didn’t mind at all. A good break from the crazy. A chance to catch up with and socialize with other families. Just a night in the community with good people.

What makes my evening special is I get to watch and observe my youngest hit the field in a sport she loves to play with some of her favorite pals. Sometimes even playing against pals from across town. The big stage. High school varsity sports. Which at her age is a big life experience. I enjoy being her biggest fan.

I watch her run. I may giggle when she falls. I silently smile when she makes a big play. I celebrate her without looking all crazy in the stands. For a teen it’s not really cool to have that mom who stands out in the stadium. It’s better to just be in the stands, present. Sometimes the silence is what’s needed. No directions just support. I love to be her support in the stands. A security blanket of sorts for the times she gives the stands a glance, if at all.

I have already watched her evolve. I’ve watched her conquer fears. I watch her handle adversity and difficult situations. I watched her smile and cheer on her team. I see her potential. I am super proud of her.

She has talent.

She has guts.

She has strength.

She has fun.

The season has just begun but she is growing through her experiences. She is adapting to whatever is thrown at her. She is training consistently and her efforts are paying dividends. I can’t wait to see where she pushes herself in the years ahead.

I will be watching. I will be cheering. I will be celebrating her. Oh how thankful I am that she can enjoy this season in the midst of pandemic life. One game down for this busy week. Two more to go.

I am and always be her #1 fan. I am always ready for the next game. 

#fangirl

dare to be different

On the Mic

10:00 am, day before the break. A little girl, longer-in-the-back bob hair, white knee socks pulled up around her plump calves. Green jumper dress with the criss cross candy canes on the front. White blouse with a ruffled collar. Rows of kids sitting on the floor on lines, criss cross, looking up at me. It was the first grade Christmas program, Mrs. Bellamy had chosen me for the solo in “Jingle Bell Rock.” I stood, shaking, right up near the mic, stepped forward to belt out the bridge, clear and strong as I could: “what a bright time, it’s the right time to rock the night away…”

I’ve been singing and speaking into the mic for almost as long as I can remember. Solos, speaking parts, conference presentations, even karaoke. For me, it does not feel weird to be in front of the mic.

These days it’s in the press box at my daughter’s lacrosse games. It’s not a hard job, really. Just saying names for the rosters and goals, reading a few paragraphs. It doesn’t take much effort or expertise. Just time and willingness to be there. Still, as several people have told me, no one else wants that job. No one.

What is it that people fear with the mic? My biggest fear is not remembering to turn it off (which has gotten me into a bit of trouble once or twice!) I’ve heard some say they’re nervous about reading names. As a person with an easy-to-mess-up name, I get that. I’ve heard every variation of my last name, both near misses and far-fetched. People giggle. But my daughter said people commented to her that “no one ever laughs at the way your mom says the names.” Her response: “My mom reads for a living.” I laughed. Touche from the daughter of a librarian who loves reading aloud.

Really, it was singing in many different languages as a little kid that gave me some comfort with unfamiliar words. I do hope I at least come close to the correct pronounciation!

I still don’t really know why people avoid the mic. For the time being, it’s what I can do to help the team.

Just a little wondering and wandering for your Wednesday.

perspective

Travel Updates

A while back, Chick 1 shared her experiences with travel during the pandemic.  I recently took a weekend jaunt and thought I’d share a view of today’s travel from my perspective.

We have entered the mask zone. We arrived in Tennessee at the very start of their mask mandate.  We “masked up” pretty much everywhere we went, from hotel lobbies to gas stations.  It became our reminder / rallying cry every time we got out of the car.  Starbucks even provided them on their counter.  (But, the indoor seating was closed and all traffic was one way.)

Buffets are a pandemic no-no, so we ordered off the menu then took breakfast sandwiches, pastries, and drinks up to the room to microwave.  Better than some of our friends who just got a grab bag with a granola bar and a piece of fruit.

Masks shopping.  Sanitizer in lobbies.  It’s becoming part of the scenery.

We were at a tournament, so the girls started their morning with temperature checks.  No team tent, instead we tailgated with our immediate framily group behind our car. All of the spectators wore masks on the sideline (or we were supposed to). I won’t discuss the bad behavior by some fans, but I will say that many tempers were on edge in the extreme heat and what I would say is extreme stress for many.

But, on the upside, we did have some great moments outside, at a distance, mask-free.  And thanks to the El Arroyo Sign for the giggle below, which hits a little close to home.

IMG_2582

Another glimpse inside pandemic life. What have you seen on your travels?  Let us know in the comments.   Be safe and keep smiling.