Sports Love & family

Learning Life's Lessons through Sports


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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.

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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It Takes a Village

People ask us all the time, how we do it? How do we have three kids play sports in the same season (oh, and by the way, work full time jobs)? My answer is always the same, it takes a village. Number one, we wouldn’t be able to do it all if Todd wasn’t a teacher and if I didn’t have a fairly flexible schedule. Number two and most important, we couldn’t do it without our amazing friends and parents.

This week we had our first conflict of the season. All three kids had games. If you’ve been following along you know this is my most dreaded part of having multiple multi-sport athletes. There’s just no way to be at everything (And I hate missing anything). I spent a few minutes the night before sending out coordinating texts to make sure I had rides in place to get my kids where they needed to be. The oldest is taken care of because Todd coaches his team. A neighbor plays on our daughter’s team, so they took her. Now, to worry about that third child! I couldn’t get out of work earlier enough to get him to his field by 5:15, so he went home from school with a friend (who happens to be the head coach’s kid) and he brought him to the game.

Great, everyone is situated, now I have to figure out where I’m going. I try to be fair, so this means I have to look at the schedule and the impending conflicts. Over the weekend I saw my daughter play 3 games and only saw 1 of my youngest’s. Decision made, Mom goes with the third child this time, next she goes with the girl!

So that’s it, our big secret on how we do it, revealed! We’re fortunate to have parents who live close whom come and watch when they can or when we need them. We’re lucky to have surrounded ourselves with great neighbors and friends whom are always willing to help us out. Without each of them we couldn’t do it all. If you’re reading this and you’re a member of our village, thank you from the bottom of my heart. We appreciate you more than you will ever know!

How do you do it all? Let us know in the comments.


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Do You Micro Manage?

Do you like to be micro-managed? Well, I certainly don’t! And I’m pretty sure our kids don’t either. I had a situation where I was being micro-managed. It made me feel like the person didn’t trust me and they felt the need to “watch over” me. Is this what many of us are doing to our kids? I get it, I get it, I know it’s sometimes easier, but we are ruining our children by doing everything for them, or by watching every little thing they do!

Oh, trust me, I don’t have all the answers to this one. But, I do know how I felt when it happened to me, and it made me think; “Is this what I do to my kids?” A micro manager by definition is a boss or manager who gives excessive supervision to employees. A micro manager, rather than telling an employee what task needs to be accomplished and by when, will watch the employee’s actions closely and provide frequent criticism of the employee’s work and processes (this is from investopedia.com, but for a more accurate depiction, check out the urban dictionary’s definition, ha, ha). But, I digress, is this what our generation is doing to our children!? Do we give excessive supervision to our kids? Do we not tell them what to do, but instead watch them closely and criticize?

I know, I for one, don’t allow my children to do things that I was freely allowed to do at their ages. My excuse always is, “the world is a different place”, but is this really true? I do agree things are different and there’s been more research done to prove certain things (ie, carseat safety, etc.), but are we making our children incapable to do things on their own? In our house we always talk about problem solving. Our kids are really not good at it, is our fault because we micro manage most of their life?

I’m not writing this to give you answers, because, clearly I don’t have them and this situation got me thinking. I’m hoping this gets you thinking too. It is important to allow our kids to do things for themselves, make mistakes and learn from them while still keeping them safe. Letting them do this in long run will only help them achieve success.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this and how your handling micro managing in your house. Leave us a comment below.


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They’re Watching

Pretend you’re somewhere between 8-12 years old. Who do you look up to? Maybe a professional athlete or super hero? Now, picture yourself as a high school kid? You’re probably wrapped up in thoughts of yourself and what the new cool thing to do is.

Not all high schoolers are like that. Some are selfless and kind and are just great human beings. We are blessed to know a few of these kids. We mostly know them through baseball and other sports our kids play. These are the kids who come spend time with the 8-12 year olds. These are the kids that understand what its like to look up to older kids. They take the time to say hello or give a high five.

Yes, my kids idolize professional athletes, but they also look at high school athletes like they are celebrities too. If you’re a parent of a high schooler, remind your child that someone looks up to them. Remind them that their actions are not only being scrutinized by their peers but by those little ones that see them in the neighborhood or on the ballfield. Remind them that they too were young once and looked up to a high school kid. If just one high school kid can give a moment of their time to a younger kid, I think it could have a huge impact on the future. Making positive connections with others in life can be so important.

It’s one thing for us parents to teach our children life lessons, but it’s an absolute game changer if that life lesson is taught by an older kid.


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Save the Drama for Someone Else’s Mama

WARNING! Rant ahead…

High school ended 20 years ago for me, however sometimes being involved in youth sports makes me feel like I’m right back there. I’m not talking about the “passion” that parents have when their kids are involved. I’m referring to the unnecessary “noise” that some parents partake in. In high school I never really understood it, but I knew teenagers were immature. In my adulthood, I have an even harder time grasping the concept. I don’t understand what has ever come of talking about people or situations to other people (the one’s not involved). It’s called gossip; the actual definition is casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true. This is constantly happening in the bleachers, in restaurants, on the streets, everywhere, and it needs to stop. What kind of example are we to our children by continuing this trend?

What’s got me so worked up?

I was recently approached by a parent whom wanted to confront me on rumors they had heard. While I appreciate being confronted so they could hear the truth, I’m saddened by this turn of events. I’m sad this person believed what they had been told. I can’t help the things people make up or say about other people, but I can control my own actions and be true to myself. I was also angry with those other people and the untrue messages they were putting out there. The messages were put out with the sole intent of creating drama. I try and steer clear of it, but on almost every team there’s one or two people who love the drama. If you’re one of these people, you need to stop. You need to find something better to do with your time other than gossiping about people you know.

How do we fix this?

It’s like bullying. We talk to our kids about how to handle bullies. Adults need to do the same thing. The way to quell this is to not participate in it. If you do get caught in it, seek out the truth (like this parent did) but let it end there.


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5 Tips for Starting the New Season Right

For us mid-westerners the start of baseball season has just begun. For my family it’s the best time of year! No matter the season you are about to start or have just began we compiled this list to help you start this season on the right track (see this post for items you’ll need).

  1. Get Organized! I just spent a half hour putting all my kids games into an excel spreadsheet so that I can see how many games we have on any given day. I have three kids, so I get three schedules, this is a way for me to see all of them in one.  Typically, once the spreadsheet is made, the games get entered into the kids shared calendar, which is shared with the kids and grandparents.
  2. Organize the Uni’s! I spent time this weekend putting together everyone’s uniforms in the designated uniform bag in the laundry room. I suggest doing this so there’s no question of “Where’s my ____?” It doesn’t alleviate all of our problems, but everyone knows after I wash uniforms where they should be. For instance, for this baseball season each boy needs, pants, jersey, socks, stirrups, belt and hat. That’s a lot of items to keep track of! Designating a space for them to be helps when crunched for time.img_5230.jpg
  3. Start Meal Preps! Meal prepping for the week is key. I sit down on Sunday’s and make out a schedule of meals for the week. If I have time, I grocery shop for only those items, if not, I sometimes have our groceries delivered (best thing for working moms!) Planning meals for the week keeps us on budget and healthier. It’s hard to do, but I’m always glad I did! I also depend on meals prepared in my Instant Pot LUX60V3 V3 6 Qt 6-in-1 Muti-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Sauté, Steamer, and Warmer, check it out if you haven’t already! Sometimes if we’re lazy we’ll make a lot of one meal and eat it for two meals! One year heading into baseball season I had a freezer meal party. It was fun and super helpful having a week’s worth of food prepared already!FreezerMeals
  4. Make Introductions. I’m a people-person, so for me, the beginning of a new season means meeting new people. Even if you’re not a people-person, I think it’s important to introduce yourself to the coaching staff and the parents of other players. Some of the greatest friendships we’ve made have come from the sports our children play. I’m not saying you have to be best friends with everyone, but knowing what parent belongs to what player just makes sense. If you’re a Team Manager or Team Parent, arrange a get together before the season. It’s always nice to meet or hang out with other parents when you’re not trying to get the best bleacher seat. Also, make a roster with kids’ names and numbers for parents, this way everyone learns the kids names easily.
  5. Remember to Enjoy it! I know when you’re running each kid here and there and when there’s not enough time to catch your breath the last thing you want to do is be grateful for this time. But, please remember to take a moment and be thankful. This phase of life is brief, so we need to stop and enjoy it. We also need to be grateful that our children have the ability to do all their activities! I know I’m not sure what my life will be like when I don’t have my kids’ sports to attend 😦

I hope this list helps you get a good jump on the new season ahead! We’d love to hear from you and how you prepare for the next sports season, leave us a comment below.


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Soak Up the Down Time

We believe in having our kids play as many sports as possible for as long as possible. Each of our kids play multiple sports. We’ve been told playing three sports in high school is virtually impossible, so we’re encouraging them to be multi-sport athletes now. Not only are there health benefits to this, but there’s a special time in between, it’s that precious time off during the transition from one sport to another.

Let’s face it, we schedule and overschedule our children. They are constantly on the go. So, when it comes time to transition from one sport to another we typically get 1-2 weeks off. For our family those weeks are precious…but they are also a curse!

Our kids need time to be just kids. To play outside with friends and even to play some video games. But, too much time in our household isn’t a good thing either! More time together also means more arguing! I guess that’s part of growing up too!

So, why is this a blog post? Well, transitions are part of life, and learning about life through sports is what we’re all about. I wanted to bring attention to this special time because as a family we feel it’s an important time. While each kid can learn valuable lessons on the field or court, the entire family can learn about life in the transition time.

We all know life flies by, so when we have these moments of pause, we need to do just that. Stop running from place to place. Put down our devices. These transitions are built into our lives so that we can take that time to recharge. We can take this time to reconnect with each other. We can take the time to appreciate all that we have.

So, if you’re like our family and have a hard time with the downtime during a transition, try to embrace it. Enjoy watching your kids play with their friends. Sit back as the arguments begin and then be grateful for the devices as they provide peace for everyone after. Embrace some quality family time or one on one time. And remember, these moments of good and bad won’t last forever so make the most of these times!