Friday, September 30, 2011

Play with your heart

Fall is in the air today. To many that means cool, crisp days and falling leaves. Around here it means time to kick off (yes, pun intended) another soccer season. Cool weather is hard to come by and the leaves fell a month ago due to the ridiculous heat of this never ending summer. But soccer comes like clock work regardless of the temperatures.

The start of soccer season is always an exciting time in our home. There are practices to fit into our schedules, new gear that always needs to be procured, and of course, fast-paced, adrenaline-filled games to cap off all of the hubbub.

Wonder Boy is starting his 6th year of league play now. And watching him evolve as a player has been a true joy for us. He is not the biggest or even the fastest player on the pitch. But he is one of the most knowledgeable out there! And he uses his grasp of the game to make the right moves at just the right time. And when he does, we can hardly contain our exuberance on the sidelines!

For us, perhaps the biggest joy comes in being able to share our passion for the game with him. He knows, when he hears our shouts of encouragement and praise that we have been in his shoes and can appreciate all he puts into his efforts. Hopefully that is something he can carry with him on every team he plays.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Game Day

"Some may boast of prowess bold,of the school they think so grand.
But there's a spirit can ne'er be told; that's the Spirit of Aggieland!"

Can I get a 'WHOOP!'?

When asked what he wanted most for his upcoming birthday, our dear friend's nearly 12 year old replied that an Aggie game day experience was at the top of his list. And who could blame him? There are few things as contagiously exciting as an Aggie football game experience ... regardless of whether or not you are an actual Aggie fan.

We started the fun off with a trip to Midnight Yell Practice. We were a bit humbled to realize it had been several decades since our last Midnight Yell experience, but the excitement hadn't changed (& neither had our dates). Our stamina HAD changed though and rather than using Midnight Yell as the start of our evening of fun, this time it was the night cap. We gladly ushered the kids back home and into bed as soon as Practice broke up. And even though they were hyped by the experience, their bodies were as tired as ours. Besides, they still had the game the next day to dream about.

The next day dawned earlier than we had hoped (don't these kids need rest??), but brought bright, sunny skies and anticipation in what the day would hold. After breakfast, we hit town seeing old home sights and hang outs while on a search for the ultimate game wear. By the time lunch rolled around, we had revisited several old haunts as well as procured the necessary maroon attire. We were all game-ready now! Whoop!

And then, of course, we hit the highlight of the weekend as we watch the Ags battle the Idaho Vandals before a crowd of over 86,000+ fans. Yells freshly reviewed, fight song at the ready, and seats high up in the upper deck of the Zone (it's a great vantage point, let me tell ya), we made our way to Kyle field to cheer on our team until we nearly lost our voices. We yelled, we jumped, we shared pop corn and water, and we watched our team roll to a 37 to 7 win over the Vandals. It was another late night by the time we made our way back to the car and finally home, but one I think we will all remember for quite some time to come!

Monday, September 12, 2011

The thing about Judo is ...

There are a lot of fine lessons that come when you study the martial arts, but one theme that seems to repeat itself over and over is about give and take. If you want to learn something, you have to be open to correction. If you want to have a good friend, you have to be a good friend. If you want to get something, you have to be willing to give something. Life is constantly proving and re-proving Newton's third law of motion: for every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction. What you put into it will equal what you get out of it. And vice versa.

This is beautifully illustrated in judo class. Sometimes you are the tori (person demonstrating a technique). And sometimes you are the uke (person on whom a technique is demonstrated).

Your experience and growth as a judoka will directly relate to how you perform these roles. If you want to master a technique as the tori, you need an uke who will work with you, someone who will take their falls and gradually increase their resistance as you perfect your technique. In return, a good tori will protect his/her uke, making sure that their fall is not too intense so that the performance is repeatable. And then you get the opportunity to switch roles and give and take with your partner as they just gave to/took from you.

It's a fine life lesson as well as a way to succeed in the dojo. When you give of yourself, no matter how scary the fall my look, you open yourself to a plentiful return.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Bird Food

Labor Day brought the first school holiday of the 2011-2012 school year and we could think of no better way to ring in the day than a play date with a best friend. Wonder Boy and his favorite running buddy had a great time playing games, running laps through the house, and picking through some of their favorite books. And all of that activity requires some serious snackage to keep up your energy, so cookies and a 'special treat' were in order.

As you can see, the 'special treat' was a couple of Angry Birds gumballs in a sugar cookie nest. It was a lot of fun to see their faces when they realized their plates contained more than a few sugar cookies. And in the end, I had almost as much fun making these birdie treats as the boys had in eating them. A win-win situation for sure!