Saturday, January 27, 2007

It's all about having fun.

PS at the beginning --- can I just tell you guys that the comments regarding the previous entry have been cracking me UP for the past two days?? You guys should all sign in every single time because honestly, I have been laughing and laughing at with you. Thanks so much for posting --- you've made my entire week!!

Now, back to our regularly scheduled kvetching:

So, you might remember last year when Kellen played his first season of recreational basketball. You might remember that he played against giant freak mutant boys like this (now remember, Kellen is TALL for his age):

And that despite my long and honorable history of not having a competitive bone in my body, I wound up at his games with face paint and a big foam finger, screaming my lungs out, and pounding my clunky yet fashionable Nine West boots on the bleachers, every single Saturday. Truly, not some of my finer moments.

About a month ago, they were having signups for the new season of rec ball. I asked Kellen if he wanted to play again, and his comment was, “No, that coach yelled too much.” See? A chip off the old block. We are just not competitive. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Then, I returned home one evening and got the following message off the answering machine:

“Hi, this is Coach H from Kellen’s basketball team. I just wanted to make sure you knew sign ups are going on this weekend and I’d love to have Kellen on my team again.”

Oh, wasn’t that nice? Listening to the message, I was starting to think that Kellen could learn to live with a little constructive criticism …. After all, maybe we both need to toughen up, and instead of being embarrassed of my deeply buried competitive streak, perhaps I should nurture it and fan the flames to life. Then, just then, the Coach dropped this little bombshell:

“But, when you go down to the rec center to sign up, do NOT take Kellen with you. Fill out the paperwork, and on the spot where they ask for his height, take six inches off what he really is and write that down. That way, they’ll hopefully assign us TALL kids to fill up the rest of the spots, if they think everyone on our team is short. See you at practice!”

OK, wait. Did he just say what I think he just said?

Did he just ask me to LIE on a 3rd grade recreation basketball application, and take six inches off my son’s height?????? Seriously????

Um, yeah. *That’s* who I want as a role model for my son.

So instead, we went down to a local church and signed Kellen up for a program called Upward. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s a Christian-based sports organization that offers (depending on the church) basketball, soccer, flag football, and cheerleading. The emphasis is on bible study first, sportsmanship second, teamwork third, and learning the fundamentals of basketball fourth. It’s supposed to be about fun and learning, not competition and winning. In theory, I agree. Wholeheartedly.

In reality, I’m thinking maybe Kellen needs to spend a little less time memorizing Bible verses and a little more time practicing on a court. I submit the following evidence:

OK, how can anyone this knock-kneed run at all?

"Reaching? REACHING? No, I wouldn’t call this reaching! I would call this ….. creative defense!"

"Damn gravity. Gets me every time."

Kellen, honey, while I appreciate the spontaneity of whatever dance this is you’re doing at your end of the court, it appears the ball action is taking place at the OTHER end. Perhaps you should try turning around????

Ah, look. NOW he’s getting the hang of it!!

Honestly, he’s enjoying it quite a bit and actually scored his first basket of the season today. Plus, his team won their game and the snack-mom brought Fruit Gushers, so all told, an incredibly successful day.

But I must confess, I’m missing my foam finger just a tiny bit.


scanmom said...

First of all, I love your sons name because it rhymes with mine. And second of all, good for you, taking the high road and putting your son with a team that will teach him the good things about sportsmanship instead of the bad things he will have plenty of time to learn when he gets older. Sheesh, tell that coach to get a life. I actually coached Sammi when she was in 4th grade and it's amazing how competitive these people are. Bully for you. Ellen

kim said...

Hi Kristie-About your p.s., I think all of us were equally cracking up with each new "quirk" installment. That was the most fun I've had in a long time, which tells you all you need to know about my life.

I know what you're talking about with the competitive thing. I, too, am NOT. Another Virgo thing, perhaps? I just cannot imagine the "win at any and all cost" mentality. Hell, I'd "throw" a tennis match if it appeared the other person was getting upset. Because it just wasn't that important. Then or now. Ya gotta be able to live with yourself. But enough about me; this is YOUR blog :)!

There is NO WAY the mutant kid is in third grade, unless he's been there for a while, like six years??!!!? I love that you found a way for Kellen to play basketball without compromising some pretty important values. Sports are great and I think it's important for kids to be involved; ya just gotta watch out for those adults! Too sad!

I think it's great that you're getting a two-for-one; Kellen gets to hone his basketball skills, plus he can practice his dance moves! HA!

Donna said...

Oh, laughing SOOO hard right now. My first-grader, who is incredibly smart but tall and gangly and showing very few signs of coordination yet to come, played a 1st/2nd grade double-header yesterday morning. The boy pulled down a rebound, everybody sprinted for the other end, and he, momentarily stunned by the lack of bodies in his personal space, took a clean shot, off the opposing team's backboard! Sigh. Fortunately, absolutely no one laughed out loud or made fun of him (I'll attribute this to 1) nice people living in a small town and 2) knowing a good chunk of the spectators--it's harder to make fun of someone's kid when you may have to work the cake walk at the school carnival with them). After he realized it, he spent the rest of the quarter (which must have been a whole 3 minutes) fighting back the tears. Mom and dad were awfully proud that he didn't crack! And at 7, he's already playing better roundball than mom ever did.

Good on you for dumping screaming coach, he sounds like a severe loser. Kellen awesome for being able to spot a bad egg this early in life.

Amy Finkler said...

Hey, those pics are great. They have that Upward B-ballt thing at my church too (Byron Baptist), but I've never thought about signing Abby up for it. Maybe the next time they have a sign-up for something, I'll pay attention. Let me know how Kellen likes it.

Marysienka said...

You cracked me up once again in today's post. Your entries are always FUN to read! Thanks for making my day!

Renee, in Canada

Sherri in NC said...

Well Kristie, you certainly brought a lot of quirks out of the closet into the light. Not sure if that's a good thing, but damn, reading all comments was hilarious! Now you know how to get everybody to sign, let us talk endlessly about us, us US!

Funny pictures of Kellen today - loved the spontaneous dance he was doing on the court, but I bet he hopes none of his friends read this blog.

The coach isn't that unusual, unfortunately, I had one ask me to lie about my daughter's birth date just to try and get her on the coach's team. And not because she was such a great player either, it was just an attempt to keep a previous team together the following year.

Lisa said...

We love Upward and it looks like Kellen does too from that dance on the court! Seriously, I know he's great. My daughter is cheering for the first time and we sought out this program especially because it does NOT focus on "booty-shaking" for six year old girls! Good for you all for taking the high road.

Anonymous said...

Hey Girl,
Sports for kids is not about fun and learning skills anymore that is for sure!! Upwards is a great program for kids, our church has been involved in the program for a couple of years. Best part is that I get to take all the team and individual pictures...if you guys need a photographer just hollar!!

Lisa in Hamilton, OH

Jeanette said...

Kristie says she is not competitive, but wait til you've played dominoes with her!! Just kidding, but you know by the end of the season you'll have not only the foam finger, but the face paint and the air horn...I'm so glad Kellen had his "game" on Saturday! :)

Gandksmom said...

I came your way via Care's blog and I just have to tell you how much I love your pics and can't believe that the coach told you to LIE! OMG! What is this world coming too?

Caroline said...

Hey Kristie, when I was in elementary and middle school I played in the basketball league at the YMCA. My dad coached us and there was this girl on another team that was incredible. She was very fast and never missed a shot. She was small, but could move. Since I was not what you would say a small child, my dad assigned me to defend her. For 3 years I tried to stop her and for 3 years all I ever succeeded in doing was fouling her over and over and over. Finally, one game I had had enough and just stood there and let her bowl over me. They still called a foul on me and I couldn't sit for a week because of the bruise on my butt. Let's just say that my dad never had me defend her again...

Anonymous said...

Hooray for Kellen! He knew that coach was bad just from the way he yelled at him. Shame on the coach. The Upward program sounds great. Sounds like they focus on the whole child and hey, they have the same silver lame' shorts as the mutant giant kid!! Things are looking up! Have a great season.

Anonymous said...

Kristie, your post made me laugh but you have to keep in mind that it's all about having FUN!!! Don't worry about his skills as long as it's not costing you a million dollars. My parents invested all these years in dancing class and I don't dance anymore - not even at parties (unless I'm feeling tipsy) but my most vivid childhood memories were from dance class and how much I enjoyed it back then so let Kellen do his thing as long as he's enjoying it and not on Coach So and So's team down the road. Get that foam finger up high haha!!!!

Patricia said...

Again...too funny! We LOVE Upward! Our kids play but you should bring your foam finger. It would add to the excitement! I can't believe that coach, asking you to lie. Enjoy every moment! (you took great pictures on the court....mine are ALWAYS terribly dark. I guess I need to play with my camera more!)

Kim said...

*might* remember?? are you kidding, I still almost pee my pants when I think back to that photo and the mutant team that Kellen played last year....

I guess I should just wear depends when I read your entries, because Kellen's disco-dance moves had me in hysterics. I can sooo relate, as Andrew likes to dance with his shadow during t-ball, totally oblivious to the game being played.

Hope all is well with Blaine...have they looked into his shoulder "issue" (Im gonna go back and read, maybe I missed it.)


Jeri from Hawaii said...

Hi Kristie,
Checking in has become the one of the highlights of my day...part of me wants to say "how sad is THAT?!?!" but hey, you are funny and who couldn't use a little more laughter in their lives?

I loved reading all the comments added to your last post about quirks. The responses were just as funny as your original post...if I am weird at least I know I am not alone!

I think you found the perfect way for Kellen to play basketball, a place where having fun and being a good sport is far more important than winning at any cost. Curses to any coach that would ask you to lie to try to stack the team of 3rd graders - what WAS that man thinking? Take your foam finger with you to Kellen's next game, who knows, maybe you'll start something.

Marci Connell said...

Upward basketball rocks,,,My daughter Chastie is playing it in Valdosta this year. Same uniform as Kellen also..I will get pics to you soon. Upward works on self esteem also in children which is awesome and they play the same team all year here! WE LOVE IT! I love the new pics. Thanks for sharing and as always thanks for all the laughs you provide. I always have to get my KRISTE fix in the morning. Also the working out is still going so if I can be this motivated YOU CAN!!!! Love, Marci

Kristin Hicks said...

Hi, my name is Kristin and I have severe issues with competition when it comes to my children playing sports. I hold it all in and only show myself on OCCASION when the other team isn't following by the rules we have to all agree to follow.

Like, your kid has to be below the age of 8. Like, your kid can only be on the roster of 1 team, no matter how good he/she is. Like, you cannot switch out your goalie except for at half-time. Like, you can have no more than 4 boys on the field at once in a co-ed league.

Can you tell indoor soccer is going on right now?


I would have demanded a birth certificate last year on that big boy in the first picture. :0)

All that being said, once the need to throw-up subsides, I generally enjoys the game. Both of my kids have the same coach and he is wonderful and patient (unlike me which is why I don't coach).

I'm glad you've found a league that Kellen enjoys. Here's hopin' you join me on the air horn/face paintin'/foam fingerin' NEXT season.

Kristin in NC

Care said...

Upwards is a great program - but oh my gosh - Kellen is just like Noah! This basketball season (not Upwards sadly) has featured Noah falling off the bench, standing backwards staring off into space, and enthusiastically aiming for the wrong basket. Oops. I'm thinking his next sport needs to be non-competitive. (He takes after me too, two left feet and all.) Well, at least it looks like Kellen is having fun out there. I think the foam finger would still work for Upwards, especially if you add some nifty Bible versus on it.