Royals finish 3rd

The Royals came in third place in the city volleyball tournament. Apparently a baseball team with a similar name is good this year? Whatever. <wink>

Leah’s volleyball season wrapped up last week. They played their hearts out in the semifinals of the city tournament but lost by a hair – and a controversial call – to the team who went on to beat the undefeated team twice that night to go home in first place. It was a lot of fun – and surprisingly intense – for girls 10U rec league volleyball!

Here’s the Royals following their second win of the tournament which meant they would be coming back for a third night. At 5’7″ (and still 10 years old) Leah is the tallest girl in the league. I like what my cousin Mark had to say, “Surely there’s a D1 scholarship in here somewhere.” Ha! I wish! Leah is a good player and I’d love to see her continue to play as long as she is enjoying it like she is now!

Leah played really well in the semifinals. Serving is her strong suit. (It was “crazy sock day” at school so Leah left on her crazy socks for the game.)

Get this: There are 7 public middle schools in our city. The girls on the top three volleyball teams in the city are ALL zoned for Leah’s middle school.

Here are the kids saying, “Good game. Good game. Good game. Good game…”

Both grandfathers were in attendance! Leah has a big fake smile because she was really unhappy about losing that game.

The cheering section also included little brother Michael, BFF Andrew, his mom/my friend Dawn, and Uncle Stevie!

The very best part of volleyball was playing with AC! These two are so sweet together!

Leah’s friend Andrew helped me keep score at one game…

Front row: Reagan, Ava, Paige and Lydia
Back row: Coach E, Mikaela, AC and Leah

That’s all, folks!

Who has two thumbs and had fun today?

Coaching Michael’s football team was seriously the most fun I have had in a while! Listen, if you can spend time with your child and other sweet babies – and stir in football on top – how could it not be fun!?!

Michael is the biggest but not the oldest. He’ll be in this same age group next year! And yes, I’ve talked with him about the importance of Offensive Linemen. 🙂

The coach on the far left would do something funny at the end of each practice: He’d point at himself with his thumbs and say, “Who has two thumbs and had fun today? This guy! This guy!” It cracked me up – and it was so spot on!

The Wide Receiver

So, just to clarify, I am having so much fun coaching Michael’s football team! Oh my word. I love it. Michael thinks I get too excited. Michael is very, very reserved – except for when he’s not.

Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down.

Yesterday, Michael got the opportunity to play wide receiver. He’s been playing center when he is on offense and is great at snapping the ball, but the job is a little boring in flag football. He’s been wanting to run the ball and this was his first chance to show the coaches what he can do. (What Michael can do is always contingent on whether he is thinking about football or whether he is mentally cataloging dinosaurs into the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.)

The quarterback (in red) threw the ball to Michael.

Michael was ready.

He caught it and turned away from the kid who was trying to block him…

…and he ran it all the way in! He got past three kids trying to pull his flags! And then he did it again! Michael thought it was really cool. 🙂 Now he says football is “probably” his sport.

Leelee

When Leah was little, we called her Leelee at least as often as we called her Leah. I don’t know why, how or when we stopped, but eventually she became Leah, officially. Each team in our volleyball league gets to select their team name, colors, uniforms, numbers and the name that goes on their jerseys. The girls like to use their nicknames, so in our volleyball world, Leah is Leelee, #12.

This is Leah’s second season and she is really playing well! She’s decided this is “her sport”.

Leah’s height and strength give her an advantage as a server. That’s her strong-suit.

Leah’s favorite part of volleyball is playing with AC (!!) and making friends.

Here’s AC serving. She’s a very good athlete. Both girls want to play on the middle school team next year!

I have always made fun of the people who stick their kids in “travel ball” because it’s such a magnet for the crazies who think their kid will be an Olympian. Anyway, I may have to eat my words if Leah really falls in love with this sport! I’ve been warned that only the kids who have played club volleyball make the high school team. How crazy competitive is everything these days? Wow. The goal is to have fun. Well, Leah is having fun!!

Hawks Football

Michael is playing football this year for the first time. So far, he has played two games and they have been so much fun! My little buddy is playing great at center and guard. This is also my first season as an assistant coach! I am loving it and laugh at myself that I’m the only coach who calls the players “sweetie”. I already asked my dad to coach a team with me next year! Bryan says I’ll still be the assistant – and he is right. That’s fine – I will learn from the best! Dad was a phenom as a flag football coach.

Here’s our Defensive Coordinator going over the strategy with the boys…

The boys are 6-8 years old. They’re babies. (Michael is reading this and objects!) When I was the assistant coach for Leah’s soccer team of 4-6 year olds, my main role was translator: “Hey kids, kick the ball toward THAT goal.” In football, I am both the translator and the Chief Boo-Boo Checker.

Michael is the biggest kid on the team and he’s only 7. He can play in this age group next year, too. When Michael was a baby, everybody would say, “He’s gonna play football!!!” And I would say, “Maybe – or maybe he’ll be the biggest clarinet player in the band.” We shall see!

For now, he’s liking football. 🙂

Ninjas

Michael’s soccer season with the Ninjas has come to an end and he loved every minute! Michael got to play with his best buddy Charlie and their tee-ball coaches, Jonathan and Chris, coached the soccer team. They did a great job and the boys learned so much! Michael played fullback (his mommy’s position) as well as sweeper.

On Saturday morning, it was a blustery 40˚ F (5˚ C)!  A little boy said he was cold and the coach on the other team said, “Run faster!” It was funny but the grandmamas sitting behind me did not approve! So many boys had on black jackets that it was never clear which team had the ball!

We never did find Michael’s missing uniform so he had to wear a random pair of black socks and black shorts with the improvised tee that Paw-Paw drew a #9 on. I have searched the entire house and will just say it vanished while I was on my business trip – so who knows!

I love that they’re still little enough to run off the field and hug their mamas. This is a sweet age group. Michael will still be young enough to play 8U next year which is great since this was his first year. Some kids had played since they were 4 year olds!

After the final game, we had an end of season party… outside. No one knew it would be so stinking cold! The boys were all so happy – I really don’t think they were bothered by the weather. (The parents were whining! Ha!)

Charlie and Michael… best buddies!!!

Bryan and Coach Jonathan

Michael and Coach Chris

Victory!!!
(Or close enough! Giant trophies with spinning soccer balls!)

Volleyball

Volleyball season is officially over and soccer ends this weekend – but before we can even catch our breath, both kids have basketball tryouts this Monday! I won’t even tell you what my dad said when I told him. Haha! We could never have both kids in sports without Paw-Paw’s help getting one of them to their game or practice while I take the other. He’s been enormously helpful!

Here’s Leah getting ready to serve.
Abby brought matching red and white ribbons for everyone’s hair!

The city tournament was this week and our girls finished a respectable 3rd of the five teams. They improved tremendously this season and played so hard in the tournament! Most importantly, all the girls I observed this season exhibited exceptional sportsmanship! They were so kind  and supportive of one another – high fiving the successes and offering reassurance when someone hit the net or missed a shot. The kids were awesome.

In my experience with pee-wee sports, the kids are always well behaved. It’s the parents you have to watch out for. After seeing some poor sportsmanship from a parent coach of another team, my mom leaned over and whispered, in a Bless His Heart way that all Southerners understand, “He must have never gotten to play.” Hahaha!

Leah’s coach was great – always an encourager.

Leah became a solid server and was growing more assertive in returning shots. Also… she really had fun!

We’re chalking up this season as a success!!!

Seasons of life!

I went to a Christian women’s conference last weekend in Birmingham that was a great experience: (1) it was 24 hours of bonding time with friends I cherish, (2) it was really uplifting, and (3) I came away with so much to think about: What has the Lord entrusted to you? Who is God calling you to be in this season? Those are question raised by two of the speakers that really resonated with me.

 

Here’s Leah serving…

In this current “season” of life, we are running from school and work to volleyball and soccer. Wash, rinse, repeat. Every day was full before I went back to work – but we are finding our groove. The trick is ensuring we block off time for nothingness so we can decompress as a family.

Here’s Michael going after #8…

A little boy at Michael’s soccer game saw his team score and dropped to his knees with his arms raised high and yelled, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” like this was the World Cup and not a U8 boys soccer game in the outfield of a baseball field at the neighborhood park. Last night, I was thinking about the dirty laundry, the sink full of dishes and that I had been 15 minutes late picking up Leah from German club yesterday… (yikes!) It occurred to me that everyone made it to their ballgames, got fed, bathed and tucked in, and there was milk for breakfast this morning. I should have dropped to my knees with my arms held high and shouted, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” that the day went mostly well!!!!! See, it’s all in how you look at life. #score #smallvictories #neverperfect

Volleyball and Soccer

I am so happy about volleyball and soccer right now. You know why? Because Leah and Michael are really enjoying it! <insert happy dance>

Leah is the one in the pink hairband.

I really don’t know anything about volleyball so the learning curve is steep. What I do know is that I’m getting a lot of photos of Leah’s bootie!! Haha!! They haven’t gotten their uniforms yet as you can see…

Here’s Leah serving.

Leah’s team had their first couple of scrimmages last night and played really well! The pace was quick and exciting! Leah is strong and seems to be good at serving. I love that she’s totally into the game – so focused and still having fun!!!!! The other day, she asked me if there is a middle school volleyball team she can play on…

Their season starts next week. 🙂

Michael’s soccer team has already played two games! The other night, we had a full moon. Beautiful!

Michael is playing left fullback – my old position! He’s so excited here – jumping up and down as Charlie takes a shot at the ball (and/or the kid). Haha! Michael occasionally yells, “Defend the goooooaal!!!!!” in a tone reminiscent of a young Mel Gibson yelling “For Scotlaaaand!!!!!” in Braveheart.

Go Ninjas!!!

And… the cheering section clearly needs a heads up on the team colors!! Ha!!

Soccer

And… Today was Michael’s first day of soccer! He surprised us with a late decision to postpone football and give soccer a try. (This was really a protest against my plans to sign him up for Upward flag football instead of the league that plays tackle!!)

Michael is on the same team as Charlie again! And he has the same two coaches as their tee-ball team!

IMG_1173.JPG