Back to Sports

 I really thought that I had reached the end of the line when it came to sports for our boys this past year. The school year is so long, and both boys played baseball last fall, basketball in winter, and baseball again in the spring. They had fun, but both boys happened to be on teams with the worst records for their age groups in spring baseball … yikes! So the season felt longer than usual. We were all ready for a summer break.

As always, summer went by so quickly too. It was difficult enough to get geared up for school, nonetheless another sports season. I was late getting Christopher registered for his fall baseball. Jonathan was running for his new school, so we were excited for him to start his season but all a little nervous at the new undertaking.

Jonathan had his first cross country meet on Thursday, and it was amazing! There is nothing like the start of a race. The excitement is amazing. Approximately 170 competitors all starting at once. Check out the photo just before the start! (Isn’t that about what the troops looked like in Braveheart before the beginning of a battle?)

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Jonathan was a little nervous, and it was hot. Evidently it was just under the heat index max that they will even let students run. The race started downhill, which meant a lot of the kids went out too fast–Jonathan included. But we were so proud! And it doesn’t hurt that the entire race is over in under 20 minutes!

Christopher had the first game of his baseball season tonight, so it has felt like double duty this week. Got to love those 7:00 game times on a school night! The game was fun. Christopher’s team won in the last at bat –always a fun way to win!

So the sports bug has hit me again! It is always so much fun to watch and play. I’m sure around May you will hear me wishing it all to end again, but the Fall sports season has got me hooked for now!

I would love to hear how you manage sports, school, and church this time of year. I could use all the help I can get! How do you guys manage it all?

Reflecting on Father’s Day

58.Fathersongame.jpgI have to admit I enjoyed every bit of attention I received on Father’s Day this year! From the first wishes of "Happy Father’s Day!" before church to the great lunch to a few presents, it did make me feel special as a Dad. I am so thankful to have talked to my Dad on Father’s Day too, catching up via long distance without having to rush to some other appointment or responsibility.

We talked about Dads in our adult Sunday School class too. In fact, I introduced the topic by asking folks to reflect on those things they do, whether consciously or not, that they inherited from their parents and the way they were raised. This is always an interesting discussion!

I told the class Sunday that it was no accident that I have a love for baseball and that my kids seem to play baseball constantly. My Dad used to lie awake at night listening to games on the radio, read the box scores every morning, and watch and play baseball with my brother and me on Saturdays. There was no surprise on Father’s Day when we started talking about the College World Series and the Vanderbilt-North Carolina game. I had to chuckle about that tonight as I kept the score book at Christopher’s game and missed 4 phone calls from home to check the score. You might say I was distracted!

As I grow older and begin to understand a little bit more of what my parents were like at my age, I can’t help but think of the iconic movie, Field of Dreams. The mysterious baseball diamond in the cornfield becomes the setting where Kevin Costner’s character comes face to face with his deceased father as a young man, full of the hopes and dreams of youth. It reminds me that there is something so bonding about just playing with our kids whether it is sitting in the floor rolling a ball back and forth with your toddler, teaching your kindergartner to play checkers, or one of my favorites, a game of catch in the yard.

I still am moved as an adult when I hear a clip of my childhood coaching hero, Jim Valvano, deliver a famous speech at the ESPY Awards, establishing his V Foundation to find a cure for cancer. It was a mere 8 weeks before he died from cancer. Valvano said that he believed you should do three things every day to be fully alive: laugh, think, and cry.

As a Dad, I would add play to that list. To me, play is the love language my boys speak! It literally shows them that I love them and puts my words into action. Someday I hope they think fondly of those times together really living life … whether laughing, thinking, crying, or playing. Wishing you fond memories of your Dad and great memory-making moments with your kids!

William

Summer Is Here!

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Summertime! For me it has arrived. There was nothing better than spending last week on the beach with my family. So relaxing and fun.

One family member made the comment that summer vacations are the things that kids will remember most about summer when they grow up. That started me thinking about what I remembered most about summer. I loved going to the beach one week a year, but that week always seemed to go by so quickly.

The thing I remember most about summer is baseball! My brother and I played baseball every day. And because  summer days were so much longer, there was much more time to play! I would rush to get the sports section every morning to see who won, who got the clutch hits, and what pitcher was the hero. I remember looking forward to Saturdays when my Dad was off from work, and we could play a family game of baseball in the backyard. Dad would be the pitcher for both teams, and we would have bases made of frisbees or gloves not in use, but the game might as well have been at Yankee Stadium! During the heat of the day, we would settle down on the couch and watch what was then called the Game of the Week (long before cable). What great memories!

Yesterday on our first day of summer after vacation, we spent our afternoon at the baseball fields watching the boys play baseball (the photo is of Jonathan at first base yesterday—thanks to photographer Brian Jones for the great photo!). As I sat and watched, I thought, It is finally summer … and there’s no other place I would rather be!

What are your favorite memories of summer? What memories do you plan to make as a family this year?