As Seen On My Kayak

With summer quickly waning in the Midwest and a limited time for working out yesterday, Bob and I took our kayaks out on our neighborhood lake.  I also took my underwater camera for the first time.  Here are a couple of the shots I liked, with more to come after future rides…and now I will remember to wipe dry the lens after each water shot.  Those water spots ruined a couple otherwise-good pics.  I was often shooting into the sun, so I couldn’t see the photos until later.  Surprise!

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Picture perfect morning
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Ethereal empty spider webs

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Abstract view, taken holding camera under the water

 

 

 

 

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reflections

 

 

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After 900+ Games, A Soccer Mom No More

I am no longer a Soccer Mom. It is truly the end of a parenting era for me. It has been such a huge part of our family life, with 3 kids involved in house league, club, and school soccer for 18+ years. I calculated they have played in over 950 soccer games, with 1000s more practices, trips to the ER, games in literally every type of weather, packing coolers and filling water bottles, show tying, attending soccer parties and award nights, taking a myriad of pictures, even coaching when they were younger.

There was a viral post last year lamenting competitive sports. While I agree that some parents and players have unrealistic expectations, it was never our goal that our children would continue sports in college unless they chose that route. They played soccer because they loved the game—and they got so, so much more from playing soccer than simply the game.

My children have learned discipline, the importance of teamwork, how practice improves your skills, why eating healthy and staying hydrated is important, how to play with teammates and coaches they do not agree with or even like, that you don’t always win when expected, the unexpected victory, how sidelining injuries are frustrating, how to speak up for themselves.

We have formed close bonds with other families, whether for a season or for years. We have travelled for many tournaments including Phoenix AZ, Cincinnati, OH, Madison WI, Kansas City, MO. In each city we have tried to explore–enjoying hiking, a variety restaurants, shopping, and experiences from the St. Louis Arch to college visits.

The end of our family soccer era ended with suddenly, with an elbow to the nose and a 35-yard header that caused a horrible concussion. Not the way I expected us to end our soccer involvement, with trips to the ER, neurologist, physical therapy, and wondering whether Devon would even get to walk at graduation. Thankfully, she is on the mend but soccer days are over.

I doubt our kids can yet appreciate how much soccer positively impacted our family. It allowed us to spend many hours together, watching them grow, learning about themselves and other families’ dynamics, politics in organized sports.

In hindsight, I am so grateful for almost every game I watched—even the bitter cold and snow games brings laughter and memories now. So whatever sport or activity your child embraces,  join their journey. Watch them grow.  And know this time will end.  Quicker than you expect.

C

Parents and Sideline Screaming

Overheard in 2 recent sophomore high school basketball games–

As an opposing team playing was being almost forced out of bounds by two of our defenders:

 Male Fan—he’s being molested out there.

Female Fan, who had been yelling non-stop the entire game, retorted—and the problem with that is?

Male Fan, after long pause—It’s not a female.

My reply, out loud, to the two—REALLYYY??? Major head shake. I couldn’t respond directly to the man, since I didn’t know exactly which DAD behind me said it. THAT is the lesson you are teaching your son? Appalling.

This weekend, we were at the end of an extremely close tournament championship game vs. a local private school:

The refs made a mistake with 5 seconds left, which had the other parents in an uproar. Then with 1 second left, the opposition threw the ball in, and one player for each team ended up on the floor.

A female fan for the other team had been strident and completely one-sided the entire game. When the final buzzer rang and we won the game—as one of her son’s coaches AND teammates both got technical fouls– the MOM screamed

Congratulations on your dirty win!

What a bunch of dirty players!

 And this lovely message was screamed on Martin Luther King Day, no less.

Parents, what kind of message are you sending your kids, their teammates, others in the stands with such obnoxious sentiments? What are they learning from your “coaching” on the sidelines?

I have been on plenty of sidelines where it was my childs team’s parents who were screaming at the players. In a fall outdoor soccer tournament, a group of parents was told by a ref—“Knock it off. These are CHILDREN you are talking do. If you yell again, I am going to remove this whole group of parents from the game.”

Remember that, parents. CHILDREN. I ask my kids about some of the most egregious diatribes, and oftentimes they do not even hear what the loudmouths are saying. But other times, they do hear. And they don’t forget, especially if it is directed to them. How do you think this can impact them in the long run? What if you heard someone directing such negative sentiments to your child?

We teach our kids to respect all and not to bully. So why do some parents think it is acceptable to scream non-stop from sidelines in a forceful, negative manner? Why do you think it is okay to bully and not respect the CHILDREN, coaches, and referees? Game after game?

When your child gets in trouble for yelling at a classmate, how will you respond? He or she is just mimicking your actions.

Go ahead and yell–positive, encouraging words, appreciation for actions well done. Please, please stop the ongoing negative, possibly sexual or misogynistic, inappropriate comments. They can hurt.

C