Sunday, January 15, 2006


Day 31 OT

Thanks so much to all of you (many of you teachers yourselves!) who wrote in the guestbook to let me know you would rather run through Hell wearing gasoline-soaked underpants than listen to children read at school. I have to say, I’m feeling much better about myself, knowing I’m in such good company!

Now, we turn our attention to an equally drastic matter: The fact I appear to be turning into one of those obnoxious sports parents.

Let me just say, in my own defense, the words “sports” and “Kristie” have never been used in the same sentence. I’ve never played team sports, or any kind of solo sport, unless you count cross-stitching. The most athletic thing I did in high school was sing in the Glee Club. Well, that’s not completely true. I was a member of the Drill Team (those girls in the short skirts who march with the band at halftime and carry pom-poms) but definitely not the most coordinated one.

Once, when we were lined up doing our high kicks (which were not very high for me because my legs were too chubby .... sadly, there goes my Rockettes career) I got my shoe caught in my best friend Susie’s skirt and essentially de-pantsed her in the front of the entire school. She wasn’t so happy about that. And once I got Jimmy Paisley’s trombone slide caught in my pom--pom and vaulted it into the crowd at a football game. That probably wasn’t the high point of my Dance Squad career, either.

My point is that outside of catching a fabulous shoe sale at Nine West, I’ve never really known the thrill of athletic conquest for myself. Reached out and grabbed the golden ring, as it were, or tasted the spoils of the victor. Nope, a rousing game of Cranium is about as vigorous as it gets for me.

Luckily, our kids take after Blaine and have a smidge more athletic ambition than I did. So far, they’ve partaken of soccer, t-ball, baseball, dance, and gymnastics. They’ve not been particularly fabulous at any of it, but at least they are coordinated enough that they don’t embarrass themselves like I probably would have when I was young. And I have always been the parent who sits on the sidelines, cheering and rooting them on, but clapping for the other team as well. I really do hate poor winners as much as I hate poor losers, so it’s been easy for me to stress the fun of the game, as opposed to the importance of winning over losing. Plus, up to this point, sports for my kids has been all about the snack at the end of the game. And honestly, is that such a terrible way to live your life?

Then, Kellen started playing basketball this season. What I know about basketball could fit in a thimble. But that’s ok because Kellen already has a coach and he doesn’t need me hollering at him. I show up, I clap and cheer whenever anyone on our team makes a basket and don’t get worked up about anything else. I mean, it’s just a game, after all.

Until the game this Saturday, when my unbeknownst-to-me, long-lost, deep-buried competitive nature reared its ugly head.

It started out as a normal day, much like any other. We arrived at the gym a few minutes early and got to watch the game before ours play out. Then, just as Kellen’s team was warming up, we saw the opposing team walk through the door. My first thought was, “What is a high school team doing here in a 7 and 8 yr old league?” If you know Kellen, you know he is tall for his age. Not freakishly tall, but a good half a head taller than most of his classmates. He’s 7, and is still one of the tallest on his 7-8 yr old team. But, check out the kid he was assigned to guard:

All I can say is that 8 yr old's parents must be going BROKE buying Wheaties for the boy!

Needless to say, at the end of the first quarter, the score was 10-1 …. and not in our favor. But since I’m not competitive by nature, that was ok. Just remember, it’s all about having fun. Fun and snacks. Then, something amazing happened. Our team, shorter and smaller though they were, began to find chinks in the armor of the mutant giant team. By halftime, the score was 18-10, and our boys weren't backing down at all. Hey …. this was starting to get interesting.

The third quarter, the crowd around me was rallying our team and we managed to gain on them even more, only trailing by six points when the fourth quarter began. And point by point, basket by basket, we began to close the gap, while the clocked ticked away in the quarter.

Before I realized what had happened, I was on my feet with the rest of the parents, “Woof, woof!”-ing every time we scored and pumping my fist in the air, actually working up a bit of a sweat with my whooping and hollering. When we sank the basket that tied the game in the final seconds, I was jumping up and down on the metal bleachers and making quite an impressive racket with the heels of my favorite boots (I told you, Nine West has nothing on me!) and screaming like we had just scored Olympic gold. Brayden looked over at me, with a horrified look on her face and simply said, “Mom, what are you doing?” I hadn’t shown that much emotion since Rupert won a million dollars on Survivor.

When the final buzzer went off and the other team realized we had tied them (the only game this season they haven’t won, apparently) the lady behind me was shouting, “Uh, huh, now THAT’S what I’m talking about!!!” and I was gesticulating wildly in the stands, supplying my own “You go girl, tell it like it is!” and knocking people about the head with my victory dance.

Truly, me discovering my untapped athletic competitive nature in this fashion, was ugly. But I had tasted the fruit of rivalry, of coming from behind and thwarting a competitor, and I liked it. I was already planning where I could purchase orange and black face paint for next week’s game, and maybe buy one of those hats with the can-holders and straws on the side, when Kellen ran up to me and said the one thing that could pull me back to reality: “Mom, look! The snack lady brought my favorite flavor of Power-Ade, woohoo!”

Ok, whew. Thanks for bringing me back down to earth, kid, and for reminding me that all that matters is having fun. Well, that and the snack.


I was driving the kids to a birthday party on Saturday which was being held at a bowling alley we had never been to. Kendrie was worried I didn’t know the way, despite my reassurances that I knew where the alley was and that we wouldn’t be late. She kept saying, “But are you sure you know where it is?” and finally Kellen replied, “Of course she knows. She’s a mom, she knows everything.” (Because this is what I tell them all the time) to which Kendrie replied, “Uh-uh. I bet she doesn’t know how to spell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” At which point I turned around and spelled it for her. Whether I got it right or not, who knows? The important thing is that *she* doesn’t know how to spell it either and I still have my bluff in on her!

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