Thursday, September 25, 2008

Confessions of a Basketball Mom

"Soccer mom" has such a nicer ring to it, but since it's really basketball that Ammon is playing right now... Well anyway, here goes... my confessions!

Ammon had his first basketball game the other night. He is playing in a first/second grade league and most of the kids have never played organized basketball (including Ammon). Ammon and the other "Golden Eagles" had two practices, during which only about twenty minutes of the second practice were dedicated to trying to teach the kids how an actual game works -- where to be on offense, what to do with your arms, what to do with the ball if you get it; and on the flip side, where to be on defense, what to do with your arms, who to guard, what line to watch out for, etc., etc.

Needless to say, when game time came, Ammon was more than a bit overwhelmed. So was his mom! I watched in agony as he wrung his hands in his shirt. I wrung my hands in the sweatshirt I was holding in my lap. I saw him biting his lip. I bit my lip. I painfully watched him run in circles with droopy shoulders as he tried to figure out where he was supposed to be. It almost made me cry.

Now fast forward to the next 4-minute period when the players switched. Ammon sat out so I had a chance to more closely watch other players. Enter on the opposing team a little boy with some pretty severe physical handicaps. He normally uses a rolling walker to get around, but once on the court, the walker stayed on the sidelines and in his own unique way, he managed to "run" and play just like all the other kids. He looked like he was having the time of his life, so I didn't worry too much about him. However, my heart went out to his mother. My heart weighed heavily as I wondered what she thought or felt every time he fell to the ground and struggled to get back on his feet (he fell quite a bit and it was very difficult for him to get back up). I wondered if she wanted the other kids to stop and help him (which, by the way, they did a few times). I wondered if she wanted the referees to stop the game and give him a chance to get back on his feet before continuing on. I wondered if she thought about what other parents or kids might be thinking about her son. I just wondered, "What must she be feeling as she watches her little boy out there?"

Ammon went back on the court and I continued to wring my hands and bite my lip. I tried to yell out suggestions for Ammon: "Go find your guy, Ammon!" "Get your hands up, Ammon!" "Dribble, Ammon, dribble!" "Run to your position, Ammon," and so on. All the while, my heart hurt for my little boy who just looked lost and confused.

Thankfully for both player and his mom, a little later in the game, Ammon was matched up against one of his buddies from our ward. He finally was able to lighten up a bit and he actually looked like he was having fun (he just chased his friend around and actually looked like he was doing an excellent job on defense). We both seemed to have more fun during this part of the game.

The game ended. Ammon got his sugar-topped cupcake and Capri-Sun and he was a happy camper. He said he had a great time. I was all smiles, too, but secretly, I was so glad that this first game was over.

At night, I sat down to write in my journal. My heart and eyes were opened as I wrote about what I'd felt about the mother of the little boy with the physical handicap. As I typed, "What was she thinking and feeling?" different thoughts suddenly came to me: Was she so proud of her son for staying out there? Did she just cheer and cheer for him every time he fell and got right back up? Did her heart just melt to pieces with pride when she watched him slowly dribble all the way down the court?

It was then that I realized that my worries for Ammon were all wrong. Instead of stressing that he never seemed to be in the right place or doing quite the right thing, I should have gloried in the fact that he was out there; that even while sorely confused, he kept on running and running. I should have cheered when he got his arms up. I should have cheered when he didn't.

Tomorrow is Ammon's second game. My hope is that this basketball mom will be able to relax and enjoy the game a little bit more. I will cheer Ammon's every move. I will cheer his every success and his every attempt. I will cheer for his perseverance. I will cheer for his health. I will cheer for his existence. I will cheer for my little boy.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

This is What We've Been Doing

Today at church, Angeline asked me what I've been up to besides school. "You haven't been blogging lately... not doing anything fun these days?"

Well... we truly are in our new school routine, which during the week, includes school for Ammon and Jacob, basketball for Ammon, preschool for Abraham twice per week, apartment managing stuff and cross country coaching for Jacob... oh, and and I mustn't forget that I am Ziya's best friend and the only one who can truly entertain her. A lot of times, I find myself simply holding down the fort while Jacob is away coaching Cross Country.

It's a lot of fun when we (or at least the boys) get to join him for meets or parties (we went to a really fun team BBQ last weekend). I like to see my kids get excited about sports. I like to see them spend "sports" time with their dad. I like to see them build confidence in themselves (at the BBQ, they got involved in a game of football catch with some of the high schoolers... it was sweet to watch!).

Mr. Wensley, the father of two of the runners, gets credit for these photos. He's very talented.

We Got a New Car and My Kids Went to Homecoming

Well... sort of! For the third year in a row, Jacob has been asked to drive a fancy new truck in Kenai's homecoming parade. This year, he got a really shiny red Yukon and took all three kids to the parade. They had fun dressing up in their Kenai colors and throwing candy out the window. In the meantime, Ziya was entertained by the junior class prince and princess who sat next to her!

After the parade, they watched a powder puff football game and then went to their favorite part, the bonfire.

I also had a fun time staying home and preparing my Relief Society lesson. After they got home, we bathed everybody and then watched a movie in the car while we drove to Soldotna to return the car. It was fun to pretend for a few hours anyway! Fun times were had.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

One Day...

This is a crazy post -- five videos (although they are all very short!). But I'm doing it because these videos may be worth millions one day. You see, I've thoroughly documented Ammon's very first basketball practice. Did you know that if it weren't for ties to family and the desire to give Ammon his grandpa's name (Victor), Jacob would have chosen a "T" middle name... this way, his basketball nickname could be "ATM" BECAUSE HE CASHES IN!!! Don't get me wrong, Jacob is actually doing a great job of not pushing basketball onto our children. As a matter of fact, if you ask them, they'll tell you that soccer is actually their favorite. A father can still dream though, right?

Here's the chest pass drill. I like how he says, "Owww," on the last pass.

Dribble, jump stop, shoot!

Full court dribble, jump stop, layup:

Cookie jar shot - watch how he does it perfectly after Coach walks away!!

Stop and pivot:

Ammon had a fantastic time at his practice. He knows his coach really well and he's comfortable with him (which is huge, for Ammon). He is excited about the new stuff he's learning and he's already asked us if we can get our basketball out of the storage closet.