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Matter Over Mind

9 Aug

That whole “I’m my own worst enemy” thing is such an a-hole. I find myself encountering it in my head before many of my runs.

You don’t have to run up “the hill” tonight. Just run to the bottom of it.

  • This is what my mind starts to tell myself at about 5 minutes into a run when I don’t feel like being out there. “Don’t run up the hill, just turn around and run the flatter parts again.” Although the thought sounds wonderful, I fight against it. I focus on the positive things – the longer blades of grass that often tickle my ankles as I run by them, the pretty sky I’m enjoying, my rockin’ tunes, my time for me. Before I notice it, I run the hill.

Maybe you aren’t a runner.

  • This is usually said to me after I talk about how I often whine about running. Some days, it is just so difficult to get out the door and start my run for whatever reason. I’m tired. Hungry. It’s raining hard. My leg hurts. I don’t want to run intervals. I try to talk myself out of it. I tell myself that I can just do it another day. I know I likely won’t want to do it then either though. When I finally get on my way, I think about the notion that maybe I am not a runner. It’s actually really motivating and helps keep me running.

Maybe you should try something else.

  • This is said to me after I vent about not losing any weight. They suggest that I need to do more than run four times a week. Maybe my body just isn’t responding to the running like it would something else. The funny thing  is though – I do actually enjoy my running. I do feel stronger and leaner. Something is working. I may need to add in a few old fashioned Phys. Ed. calisthenics to help build my core better but I don’t want to give up on running. (Even when I feel like I want to give up on running. It’s a twisted emotion.)

If you don’t feel like running, don’t run.

  • Said to me to ease my pout and support me in my anti-run feelings that intensify right before I’m about to head outside. The most recent one innocently came from Nia. She wasn’t trying to be unsupportive or discouraging, she was trying to help me feel better. It’s just, that is the time I need to be stronger than the temptation to not go. Andrew gets my evil eye as he tells me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear. “Just go. You’ll be fine once you’re out there. It’s only x-amount of minutes. You got it.”

No matter what I’m feeling or hearing before my runs, he’s right. I am fine once I’m out there. In fact, I feel good. Not only because I ran and the sense of health and accomplishment, but also because I overcame my mind. Told it to shut it, I’m doing this. Matter over mind really makes me feel like I’ve defeated that enemy.

Run Crier

22 Jul

Well, that was a first. I started blubbering during the start of what was supposed to be my 50-minute run this morning. It wasn’t because of anything sad, painful or inspirational. Those are understandable reasons to get worked up to tears.

No, for me, it was because my music wouldn’t work and because I’m getting sick to my stomach thinking about the looming 10K (my first) that is three weeks away and I have yet to run more than five miles in any of my training – or ever in my life for that matter.

I am a bag of nerves and it all exploded during this run. Here it is:

Cry Run

I gave up. Quit. Walked home. Bawling. Andrew gave me a sincere and supportive pep talk, I pouted and beat myself up for quitting. I thought, “Why am I doing this to myself? Don’t I have enough pressure with the day-to-day stuff of work, home and family? I’m voluntarily adding to it with running? Shouldn’t this be fun?!”

Smack, smack. Attitude adjustment. I gave myself a few minutes to cool off and told Andrew I wanted to try again. My music still didn’t work and it was so hot and humid but I pushed myself on – with a few walking breaks.

Do Over

The 6.2 mile run is in three weeks. I am two miles away from running it during these training runs. I don’t want to even feel the inkling to quit – even if my music does.

I want to cry during that run because I’m proud of myself. A happy, strong cry. I feel I can do it and I know the pressure I put on myself is because I want to be stronger in spirit and body. I want to be a proud run crier.

Passion to Play

1 May

Sometimes, all I can say is wow. Wow. Did Nate just do that? How was he so quick? How did he see that happening? How did he know to do that?

At 6 years old, Nate knows more about the rules and design of baseball than many adults. (I still don’t get that infield fly rule.) Nate pays attention. He knows where the runners are and what he needs to do to help make the out. Tag the base. Tag the runner. Throw it to Second. Cover a base. He thinks without hesitation. He watches every move on the diamond, even when he’s not on it. In the dugout, he and his buddy, Jack, cling to the fence,  focused on the field excitement and anxiously awaiting their turns to bat.

I know that as they all get older, more and more players will grasp, practice and perfect all that is baseball. Now though, I just stand jaw-dropped watching Nate’s passion to play guide him out there. I was so amazed at a recent catch he made for an out while playing shortstop that I missed the immediate second out he made when he ran to Second Base to tag the runner heading toward him.

I did manage to capture some pre-wow pictures during that game. He just has so much heart and intensity. The love of the game is an incredible thing.

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Makes a Catch for an Out

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Super Stretch to Make the Catch for an Out

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Finally, time to hit!

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Got It!

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Played Hard

Waiting on a Catch

21 Apr

The feeling is so distinct. It has been years since I experienced it directly but I remember it each time I watch Nate on the baseball field. It’s like I can almost sense it through him.

He waits – eager, aware, knees slightly bent, ready to run, glove out, his free fist punches it to make it awake and prepared for something spectacular – a catch.

"Baseball Ready" by Dodgers' Mom, Amber

I remember what that felt like. The want of it is incredible and powerful.

Let’s go, batter. Hit it to me. I dare you. With the clang of the bat, the ball flies above the field. Above the pitcher. Above Second Base. It’s close to me. I got it. It’s mine! I run for it. Empty glove out. The slap of the ball. Heavy glove. Cheers. Elation. Ready for another.

I wasn’t a star softball player. I would actually call myself average but that doesn’t take away from that feeling. Now, I as watch Nate, I know he feels it too. He wants to field that ball. He wants the catch. He will dive out in the air for it. He’s made a few and missed a few, too. It seems the ones you miss make the ones you snag so much sweeter.

I’m thankful Nate and Andrew let me play outfield for them when they practice. I still can’t shake that feeling. Come on, Nate. Hit me a pop-up.

Waiting for my Catch

Buddies, Baseball and Bulldogs

2 Apr

Bulldog Baseball Fans

We met through a love of baseball – cheering on our three boys and their t-ball team. Now, a season or so later, I’m happy we were all able to get together again – this time to cheer on the Bulldog baseball team.

Georgia didn’t win but we all had a great time in the stands and watching all of our kids run the bases (twice) after the game. (Andrew may or may not have timed Nate. He was trying so hard to pass a much taller kid in front of him and was pretty McSpeedy. The girls did great in their flip-flops and fashion wear.)

Our boys aren’t on the same t-ball team this season (in fact, we have to play against each other in a few weeks!) but I have a feeling they will be rooting for each other from across the field. All three of them love the sport so purely and intently. They watched the entire game, wearing their gloves and talking stats.

Baseball buds.

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Our Half Marathon Hero

23 Oct

He is 35 years old.

Father of two.

Routinely runs for pleasure and health.

Registered for the Athens Half Marathon two 5K’s and a 10K ago.

It took him 1:47 to run 13.1 miles.

Finished 294th out of 1,844 runners.

He was the 4th from our town to finish.

33rd out of 118 in his age group.

217 out of 793 men.

Of course, always, #1 in our hearts.

Yay for Daddy! And a beer at the finish line?! Best race ever...

A Dawg Day

18 Sep

I’m so glad our good friends and University of Georgia graduates asked us to attend a football game at their Alma Mater. We’ve lived just 30 minutes from Sanford Stadium for the last five years and we are big football fans (even attending our hometown’s high school games) but never made any effort to enjoy a game in Athens. We finally did on Saturday as UGA took on Coastal Carolina and it made for a great memory.

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Go Dawgs!

The day began with a healthy amount of tailgating with some bring-your-own-portable-satellite-dish-and-tv pros. They even had a skillet plugged into a generator to make eggs and sausage and a margarita maker ready to serve. Andrew and Nate couldn’t be there for this part of it because Nate’s first t-ball game of the fall season happened that morning (they won 17 to 3!) but Nia and Camille made the most of it by exploring the wooded area near our tent, playing cards and propping their feet up while eating some pre-football fixins.

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Pepperoni Rolls & Propped Feet

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Go Fish on Football Saturday

The adults had our own dose of relaxin’ and fixins, including a tasty blue alcoholic beverage that Ginger concocted.

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Happy Ginger

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Blue Drink Cheers

The weather was beautiful for football but the sun and heat during the game made Nia and Nate duck for cover under our bleacher seats.

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Hiding from the Heat & Sun

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Nate Still Wants to Watch

True and tiny Dawg fan, Camille, didn’t want to miss any of the excitement and stayed above the seats to see the sights with her mom and dad.

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Mommy-Daughter Fans!

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Daddy-Daughter Dawg Watchers

The Dawgs went on to win 59-0 and Nate wanted the action to continue even after we left. Touchdown!

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Still Playing


Beach Baseball Attraction

5 Sep

Sure, there was boogie boarding, sand digging, wave jumping, Spiderman action figure surfing, creature exploring and bunk-bed sleeping but what Nate loved most about his ocean vacation was – of course – throwing baseball on the beach.

Quite a few other people enjoyed it too. We had one man tell us that Nate had great fundamentals, a lady couldn’t believe he was only 5 years old and another person asked for his autograph. That request has already gone to his head. After that, he kept wanting to write his name in the sand and on the baseballs he had with him.

I’m just happy he made many beach memories – even if all the main ones always come back to baseball.

Watching Nate

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Posing at his name in the sand

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Signing his autograph

In Between Seasons

19 Jul

Nate may not have a tee-ball practice or game to play in during these summer months but that doesn’t mean he’s not playing every chance he gets/invents. It’s been too hot outside to really quench his baseball thirst so he’s improvised. Some of has hold-him-over pastimes consist of:

  • Wii baseball. He will play that for as long as he can with us watching him like fans. Andrew doesn’t like him to play it too much though because Nate is changing his swing a bit because of it. Priorities, people. Priorities.
  • Toy baseball men that he has a field for and cards that tell you if the player singled, doubled, grounded out or crushed it for a home run. He even has a really cool, small, marble/skee-ball type baseball game that he continually wins.
  • Baseball books. Forget about reading anything other than a book with baseball as the subject matter. One in particular basically involves cartoon characters singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” which means you are signing it. Over and over again.
  • Trips to the stadium to see the pros play. We had some great times and I think we are all now hooked on our minor league team, the Gwinnett Braves.
  • Baseball on tv. He will watch it intensely but only for a few innings. After that, he feels the need to act it out and practice the plays the MLB players just did. After seeing some awesome dive and catch plays, he’s been requesting that we throw the ball to him out of his reach so he must dive to catch it. I was told I wasn’t doing it right because he never had to dive for mine. Fine. But if I can’t throw, I’ll capture it on video.

When are fall tee-ball sign ups? Not soon enough.

A House Divided

3 Jul

Daddy vs. Son

Andrew has loved the Baltimore Orioles since he was a little boy. Rooting for them through the thick and thin. Cheering and respecting his favorite player, Cal Ripken, Jr. – all without even stepping foot into Camden Yards to see the team play and barely getting to watch them on tv due to distance and programming.

Finally, after more than two decades of true fan support from a distance, Andrew got to see the Orioles play the Atlanta Braves live at Turner Field. But, it didn’t come without a little drama. You see, Nate loves the Braves. He probably loves the Braves like that young Andrew loved the Orioles. He knows the players. He knows how they’ve been playing. Which ones hit the home runs, which ones can “crush” the ball, which ones are hurt – he wants them to win every time and he wanted his daddy to want them to win too.

Andrew sweetly told him that he would really like to see the Orioles win (even though he knew they wouldn’t after seeing who was starting as pitcher that night) but that he would be fine if the Braves won because it would mean Nate was happy. That seemed to satisfy Nate. Until we got ready to go that night.

He saw his daddy all ready in his Ripken shirt and his O’s hat that he’s had for years and our little fan started to cry. You see, Nia was rooting for daddy’s team and I was being my wishy-washy self and said I’d like to see either team win. Well, to Nate, that was, “Nobody wants the Braves to win with me.” Through teary eyes he told me he didn’t want to wear his Braves jersey anymore, he wanted his Orioles gear. I gave him the choice and told him that I would cheer with him. I asked him if he could name any of the Orioles’ players. He told me no. He made his choice and came out ready for his team to win.

Yes, they won that night, but Nate then cheered for the Orioles with his daddy from the couch until Andrew got to see an O’s win on tv and hear his son tell him, “Oh yeah!” Something he’ll take any day of the week.

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Excited for the Game

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Ecstatic for his Favorite Players

Batter Up!

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Fantastic Fireworks


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