The Flag.

Saturday, my baby ran out with the flag...honestly, I was most excited to see ---that even by himself, he stopped a moment to pray. Someone asked me what was my position on "all this flag and anthem controversy"...and I "must've been proud that my son chose to not protest". My response went sort of like this: "Sir, with all due respect...this was an act of pride, but mostly obedience. He did what he was asked to do...and leading your team to do anything evokes pride! We live in an area where confederate flags fly freely, Civil War Generals are still celebrated all but weekly and the KKK walks around openly. These flags are not symbolic of how someone feels about me. My children went to school with people who wouldn't speak to me beyond the school grounds and I'm still watched when I go to certain stores. So, I'm not terribly moved - either way- that he ran down the field, with a flag in his hand...I'm most impressed with how he runs every day he's given...with what's in his heart. So to flag or not to flag means nothing to me. You can remove them all and ban them everywhere or not, because if you don't remove and change what's in people's hearts....it still won't matter."

xoxo, gina

GAME DAY: The X's and O's - Football. Life. Raising Boys.

For the past 24 years or so, I have been "in the game", watching and being a part of football and its seasons, more intimately than I did years earlier, when I was young girl watching my dad. Games, practices, camps and scrimmages that I have witnessed from sky boxes, sitting in the stands, standing on the sidelines and from the perfect spot on my couch, are experiences that have shown me an outlook that I wouldn't have otherwise had and a camaraderie, I wouldn't know.   

Over the years, I've built some amazing friendships with many "football moms". Being women first, our commonality extended beyond football, but our connection started there. After being asked to write a book or blog, my response to that was creating a community; a team for us! 

To kickoff, I've asked some of my friends, who are either married to athletes, have sons who are athletes or both to contribute. We'll meet "on the sidelines" and "in the stands" to share lessons, stories, recipes and anecdotes about raising boys, football, food, love and much more that the big game - life - has taught us. I hope you will come!. 

xoxo, gina

GAME DAY

The X's and O's

Football. Life. Raising Boys.

 

 

 

Check Your Jersey.

Check Your Jersey.

Written by: Natasha Simon

A few weeks ago, I decided to go to my son's football practice. Well, I was kinda coaxed into coming - to keep from having two vehicles at the school. My husband has decided to help coach and we had to attend a parent's meeting afterwards to discuss fall sports, which is code for money, cheese, cheddar, stroke a check.....Okay, first of all, HIM (this is the nickname that I call him when I'm trying to remain Holy) was adamant about not coaching anymore and second, why the heck do kids have to pay to play sports??? These two issues really get me heated! You smell smoke? Yeah, that's smoke you're smelling. I'm heated! Embers are flying, so take cover. I've never wanted to cause bodily harm to my soul mate like I did when he coached our son in Pop Warner. I was destined to be portrayed on Orange Is The New Black as the crazy wife who dismembered her husband's body, with a smoothie straw and some Vicks vapor rub, then tried to glue it back together with double sided tape. Oh, the memories are coming back.....1...2...3...4....5...okay, okay, I'm good. Got lost for a few. We'll revisit the aforementioned issue on a later date.

 

Back to what I was saying....So, I was watching the team run the perimeter of the field and caught a glimpse of the two runners pulling up the rear. They were pretty far behind the group. Like wayyyyyy behind. My heart ached for them. I wanted desperately to jump out of the truck and trot beside them in my almost too short denim dress and Tory Burch sandals, okay, well stand next to the fence and cheer them on. But, that wasn't necessary. Their teammates stood in the gap, my son included. Their teammates encouraged them to finish the race. Even though the rest of the team had already passed the finish line, they knew that the drill wasn't over until EVERYBODY on the team crossed. If you don't win, we don't win! In life, we are always in one of these two groups! We'll either be ahead or behind. When we're behind, and times are hard, but do we have teammates who'll encourage us to not give up? Or when we're ahead, do we offer help and/or an encouraging word to our teammates? If you can't say "yes" to both questions, you may want to check your jersey, to make sure you're on the right team!

An Intro: Moms of Athletes

An Intro: Moms of Athletes

Written by: Pamela Garner

When my sons expressed an interest in playing sports, I didn’t understand the ride I was about to take. I wish I would have known, or could have met someone to explain to me the support that would be required of me.  I did not have brothers and I never played sports.  Growing up, my sister and I were both in the high school marching band. It was rigorous and exhausting, yet fun; however, it was not, and is not a sport.

 

I could not understand why the team was always practicing and the coach was always screaming. Someone was always asking me to work in the concession stand.  Although there were 30 plus boys on the team, there was a core group of approximately 12 parents who consistently showed up to watch and support the team.  As a result, I was always asked to work concessions. I despised the bossy mothers who could not seem to remember they were talking to adults. I was ready to quit. I had laundry and a sink full of dirty dishes waiting on me. It took me a couple of years to grasp the concept that when your child participates in a team sport, a clean house is secondary.  I am not advocating a filthy house; I'm just saying don’t flip out when your house is messy. Circumstances may prevent you from making every game, however, you need to make it your business to attend as many games as possible; your child needs to know you are there.

My son tried his hand at different sports and found his niche in football.  When your child is an athlete, you must learn to like the sport and learn everything you can about your child’s sport. My son is musically gifted, so naturally I was disappointed when he told me, “Mom, I hate marching band.” He has played football since 9th grade and is adamant about playing college football.

Fast forward to his senior year, gallons of Gatorade, perspiration-soaked gear, and too-numerous-to-count cases of water, I now have a better understanding of what my son needed and still requires from me, and I want to share with you some tips that will help you adjust to this new ride you are taking.  

  1. Commitment: Your time still is not yours. The team will practice frequently and for longer periods. There is also film to view and review. Scheduled winter, fall, summer or miscellaneous breaks from school will not necessarily mean the team will be excused from practice. The same goes for vacation. Check with his coach.

  2. As I mentioned, I didn’t grow up with brothers.  I was not prepared for the amount of food this boy could put away, and 2 hours after dinner, stare at me and sincerely say, “Mom, I’m hungry.”  Athletes eat large portions. All the time. All day. Every day. Imagine my joy when he told me, “Mom, Coach said I need to gain weight. He’s changing my position.”

  3. If you have daughters, you already know how expensive they are. This is the same with athletes. Girls wants girly things. Athletes want athletic things: cleats, head bands, wrist bands, shorts, special leather gloves, socks and more cleats. Thank God I didn’t have to purchase his size 16 cleats.

  4. He will need your guidance in helping him keep a balance between maintaining his grades, social life, social media presence, part-time employment and community service. Professional athletes have agents, managers and coaches to help them navigate their career and social life. Your high school student athlete needs you too. Senior year is stressful.

  5. If your child is playing in Pop Warner or middle school, please recognize and realize, high school football is more intense, and different, as in baking vs. cooking. If your son wants to play in college, he knows scouts could be in the crowd.

  6. The day before, and especially on game day, keep it light. Smile. Keep it pleasant. Save the heavy conversations for another day.

  7. Have fun! Take pictures! Many pictures! Record the team running onto the field. Document his achievements both on and off the field. You’ll need it for college paperwork.  In those stressful moments do your best to present tranquility.  Take several deep breaths.  If you’re cool on the outside, he’ll calm down.  Grip the handlebars of your ride through the upside down dips, twists and turns.  Before you know it, you’ll see light at the end of the tunnel and the ride will be over. You’ll shed some tears as thoughts of kindergarten flash through your memory when he walks across the stage to “Pomp and Circumstance.” Have no fear; there’s another ride ahead.