Sports Love & family

Learning Life's Lessons through Sports


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It’s Prime Day!

Are you a sports parent always looking for great items that you need? Here’s your chance to get all the sport essentials you’ve been eyeing, it’s Prime Day! In addition to our Stuff We Love page we put together a list of all the items we think every sport parent needs for the summer!

Pull Cart – a savior for all that equipment!

Spray Bottle – for those hot, hot days! Either work, one is sold as a “sports mister”

Water Bottle – this one hangs on the fence!

Canopy – a must for summer!

Beach Umbrella – this was great for when we had little ones

Frog Togs – keep all the kids cool with these

Suckers – these became my go-to treat this summer, helps with nerves too!

Let us know the essentials you bring to all your sporting events in the comments below.


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Youth Sports, What’s The End Game?

Why do we shell out hundreds of dollars and spend countless hours on a field or in a gym? Are we thinking our children are going to play professional sports? Though many parents believe this and many children have this dream, the reality just isn’t so. Then, why do we do all that we do for no ROI (return on investment)? For our family, it’s for two reasons, the intangibles and the goal of playing in high school.

The Intangibles
What are those you ask? These are the things you can’t measure or quantify. It’s the bonds our children create, it’s the relationships the parents build. It’s the experiences of working with others, being part of a team. It’s the experiences of traveling with friends and family and/or spending time with so many people who have a common interest. It’s about relationships. Whether it’s a coach you love or one you don’t agree with; whether you’re playing with your best friends or you’re playing with kids you’ll never speak to again. It’s learning how to manage all that, so that when you’re an adult you’re ready for real life situations. Most importantly, it’s the valuable life’s lessons that are learned through a commitment to the team and competition.

The Goal
Every child that plays a sport at some point has the dream to play it professionally. Many of us realize this isn’t a reality. Lots of kids dream of playing their sport at “fill in the blank” University. While this dream is more attainable than the professional dream, the odds still are slim. As a family we talk about this often. We try not to squash our kids dreams, but we try to keep them in reality (they are only 11, 10 and 8). So, we tell them that our goal is for them to play their beloved sports in high school. Our kids are three-sport athletes and we know all too well that now-a-days even that can be an unrealistic goal. But, they’ll play as many sports as they can, for as long as they can.

This is why our family feels that sports are so important for the healthy development of our children. This is what I tell people when they ask us why we do it. What do you tell people? We’d love to hear why you have a crazy sports life like us!


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A Lesson in Compassion

We started this blog because our family loves sports, and we realized that there are life’s lessons we and our children are constantly learning via this sports life we created. Recently, our family and all the families involved in our baseball organization learned a valuable life lesson: Compassion for others.

Our baseball organization took a que from our local youth football organization and decided to do a Special Olympic-type baseball game, the HBA Challenger Baseball Game. The premise was to organize a baseball game with our 14U teams and Special Olympians from our community and have a wonderful time. It took months to plan and organize; the result: a phenomenal day for all involved. Here’s how the day went.

Each age group 8U through 13U were given players to cheer for. The team’s showed up 45 minutes before the main event to create posters and meet their players. This meet and greet was held in the “clubhouse” also known as our indoor hitting facility. The clubhouse was decked out with uniforms and gifts for each Challenger. After the meet and greet and posters were made, the kids headed to the bleachers to cheer on their player. It was amazing to see all our boys in their blue away jerseys and members of the community filling the stands. The stadium was packed!

After the National Anthem one of our 14U teams took the field, and the other team stayed as sponsors for each Challenger player. Our awesome MC for the day introduced and even interviewed each Challenger. As each player was announced our teams in the stands cheered their little hearts out! Each team really got in the spirit of cheering for their designated player. It was truly wonderful to see the joy that those cheers brought to the Challengers faces.

The game lasted a little over an hour and afterward a picture with all the baseball players was taken by the scoreboard. As each Challenger left the ballpark they were congratulated by the crowd. The pure joy they exuded was infectious for all in attendance.

Our family enjoys playing sports, we always have and always will. But, there is so much more than just being able to play. It’s like I said in my last post, “We need to teach our children that their actions (good or bad) have an affect on others. Not only for the sake of sports, but for humanity.” I’m so proud of all our boys. The compassion and enthusiasm they showed that day was a lesson for all of us!


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Coach, You Missed a Teachable Moment

Dear 8U Baseball Coach (opponent coach, not ours),

Do you feel like you’re teaching your boys the game of baseball? Do you think that running your kids around the bases when the ball was in the infield taught any of the kids on the field anything? How about tagging up on a pop-up to shortstop? Did it make you feel like the best coach out there to score an exorbitant amount of runs in three innings? Was it your best idea to tell your kid to leadoff when there is a no leadoff rule and then tell the umpire so we could end the inning? What are all these things teaching your players?

Your lack of baseball etiquette was evident that day. Your lack of ability to teach young players the proper technique was also evident. I’d love to be at a game in a few years to see if what you’ve taught your players still works. Did you think of the other children on the field? Clearly, you didn’t. Our boys handled it in stride, but it doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt.

I’m writing this to you because you angered me. And the next day my older son was in a game in virtually the same situation, except we were on the winning side. Our coach held our runners and didn’t make a fool of the other team. We were winning 11-0 when one of our players hit a two-run homerun (over the fence). Of course our players wanted to congratulate him at home plate, however our coach told them to stay in the dugout. The opposing coach told our coach he appreciated that.

So, you see, there is etiquette in all sports and we need to teach our children the proper way. We need to teach our children that their actions (good or bad) have an affect on others. Not only for the sake of sports but for humanity. Whether you are up by 15 or down by 1, as a coach you must always be able to recognize a situation and adjust accordingly; that’s coaching and that’s how life’s lessons are conveyed to players.


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The Coach Who Doesn’t Coach

It’s a difficult balance of being a parent to an athlete and being a coach to an athlete. The struggle is real as they say. Have you ever been in a situation where your child plays for a coach that doesn’t know anything about the sport they are coaching? Logic says “this person is nice and the kids are having fun.” That’s the part that has seen mean coaches. The parent|coach part says “the child is learning nothing, they aren’t getting better.”

So, if you’re faced with this, what are the options? Well, the child can play for a different team, a different organization all together. This situation is scary, we don’t know what we’ll get some where else. You know the saying “the grass isn’t always greener” comes to mind. The parent could step in and try to help the coach with their knowledge (totally depends on personality how this would be taken). The parent could ask to coach the team themselves the next season. For many, this isn’t an option because of other children and other commitments. The final option is to continue what you’re doing. Continue playing at this level and try to coach and get lessons in from other resources when you can.

The goal for any organization is to develop players, but the goal for us parents is to develop OUR player. If you don’t want to make a change, then you need to take matters into your hands. We always tell our kids that they are only one part of the team (1/5th of the basketball team or 1/9th of the baseball team). The only actions you can control are yours. While the development of the team as a whole is very important, we need to look out for the development our own child.

So, if you’re ever faced with this situation, my suggestion would be to focus on the development of your child. Whether it’s making a change with the team or just focusing your efforts on player development, you need to do what’s best for them.


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Uniform Organization

We get asked all the time how we keep all our children’s uniforms organized. We’ve tried a few methods, and so far this works the best! It’s not fool-proof but it has cut down on “mom where is my….” Hopefully this can help you and if you have a great organizational tip, we’d love to hear it!


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Dealing with a Loss

This week our family is dealing with loss. No, not a loss on the field, loss of life. We had to come to the very difficult decision to put our nearly 16 year old spaniel-pointer to sleep forever. She was the final part of our lives that came before our children. This isn’t the first time we’ve had to do this as a family, but the last time we only had two children and they were both babies. Our kids are old enough now to understand and share in our emotions.

Why am I sharing something so personal with you? Mostly because writing helps, but more importantly this blog is called Sports, Love & Family. The loss of this dog has everything to do with Love & Family. And as cheeky as it may seem, we can always bring what happens in our lives back to sports.

A dog is a family companion, they are always there for you, no matter what. They love you unconditionally, good day or bad day. And this made me realize, it’s much like what us parents are for our little athletes. Our kids rely on us to be there for them good game or bad game. Always cheering them on from the stands. One day our little athletes won’t be little athletes any more. They won’t need us to truck them all over the state. They won’t need us to wash their dirty, stinky uniforms. They won’t need us to carry their equipment, because it’s too heavy. They won’t need us to cheer them along in every situation. They will grow up and no longer need us as much. This realization hurts, much like losing a family pet.

So, I’m going to tell you what lots of people preach in this digital-age. Be in the moment. Be in the moment when your child is on that field or on the court. Be present. Be present for them, even if it’s the last thing you want to do in that very moment. My daughter just tested me on this. Much like Mama, she’s a writer. She wrote about her experience that day we had to say goodbye to our dog. She wanted me to listen to it. Emotionally I knew I couldn’t handle it, but I also knew this was part of her grieving process. So, I put my phone down, and my emotions aside and let her read me her account of that day.  It was so hard, but she was so happy to share it with me.

I’m vowing to be more present for my family. To enjoy all the moments, good and not so good. One thing being a sport-parent has taught me is that my kids want me to see them doing what they love. Whether it’s a good game or bad game, they want me there. I’m like the family dog, I’m always there for them no matter what.

Solution to Clean Baseball Pants

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Everyone asks us how we get and keep white baseball pants clean and white. After years of practice and trial and error we’ve found a solution that works for us! And, bonus, there’s little effort involved! Yey! Check out the video below.


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The Umpire Shoved Who!?

It took me all last week to try and write this blog. I didn’t know how to start or what angle to take. Then it hit me in the shower (like most of my posts do), questioning, why don’t people like to be questioned? Well, I know the answer to that, I guess the question is why can’t people now-a-days handle being questioned? Are we that insecure as a society that we can’t handle someone challenging us?

I’m questioned or challenged by my superiors at work daily. I know there was a time in my life (probably my twenties) where that made me uncomfortable. Now, in my late thirties in a career I feel confident in, I don’t mind. I stand my ground, push back if need be, or give in, if that’s best for the situation too. Know why this is? Because I’m mature enough to handle these situations. I know what I know, but I’m not always right and I can work well with others. Why am I telling you all this!? Stay with me, I’m getting there and of course sports and life lessons are involved!

We had a situation at a baseball game that got out of control. After numerous innings of the srtike zone apparently growing, our coach finally decided to say something. He “questioned” the strike zone. Immediately the umpire got defensive. He took the conversation to a different level. He didn’t like that our coach “questioned” the way he was doing his job. I’ve seen this before in sports, umpires or referees that don’t like being undermined. We’re not condoning confrontations with officials, but what we are advocating for is the ability to have a conversation with said official in an adult manner.

Officials are human beings and we all make mistakes and we all use our judgement to the best of our abilities. With that said, when a coach decides to “question” an official they should be mature enough to have an adult conversation about the issue at hand (this goes for both parties).

The situation we were part of was far from a mature conversation. The home plate umpire was not interested in having a civil conversation. He went straight to beligerent and kicked out our coach. After resuming the game he walked over to two of our coaches that were having a conversation in the dugout and proceeded to kick them out, based on what he thought they were discussing. The first base umpire had had enough and decided to intervene and the two umpires had “words” with each other. The home plate umpire called the game and the first base umpire disagreed and told him so. After a physical altercation between the umps, the first base umpire went to his car to get his gear to continue the game. Coaches from both sides agreed to end the game. When the first base umpire came back another altercation between the two happened again. With coaches seperating them and escorting them to the parking lot the situation ended. It was one of the strangest games I’ve ever witnessed!

So, to conclude, this entire situation could’ve been avoided if the umpire were able to have an adult conversation about the events happening during the course of the game. We as a society need to be able to have constructive, uncomfortable conversations. Once we all can do that, I’m betting some pretty amazing things can happen!


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Don’t Take Your Negativity Public

The internet is an awesome, amazing and scary thing. Having information at your fingertips is great, but what some people do on the internet is not cool. I’m not talking about inappropriate content (that’s for someone else’s blog). I’m talking about using the internet to spout negativity or bad-mouth people or things (hence the reason we created this blog). It was brought to our attention recently that someone was bad-mouthing a sports organization our kids belong to.

Let me be clear, I don’t deny having bad experiences in some organizations. Our sport experience hasn’t always been sunshine and roses. But, one thing I’ve never done is use the web to tell everyone how terrible the organization is and how they wronged my child. What good comes of that?

Of course I was sad and hurt to see the things they said about the organization, my kid has had a great experience. But, I also understand each experience is different, depending on the child and the parents. No organization is going to please every family, it’s just a reality. How you handle how you are/were treated is up to you. However, in my opinion, the mature way to handle how you feel is not blabbing to all your friends or taking to the internet. Our culture is driven by negativity, people feed on drama (that’s why reality shows have taken over the tube).

I’m charging all our followers to be the change. Our family has changed our outlook and created this blog for the shear purpose of spreading posivity. When you’re faced with a difficult situation and your instinct is to jump on social media and vent in a negative way, I emplore you to stop and think about it. Anyone who knows me, knows this is a tactic I use regularly. I’m very reactionary, so, if I’m angry I can say or do things I will for sure regret later (thankfully, I married someone who balances me and helps me with this).

We teach our children that what they post could affect the rest of their lives (ie, college acceptance, job search), but many adults don’t follow the same rules. Parents need to look inside themselves and practice what they preach. Feel free to show your emotions, discuss with close friends and family, but leave it there. Don’t go all over town talking negatively and don’t post it all over social media. Let’s all lead our children by being good examples ourselves.