Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Play Ball

It seems my ball playing days are over. I am profoundly saddened by the idea given that I have played one sport or another every year since I was 6 years old. That's 32 years of sports under my belt! And now, I am a player without a team.

When I was 6 years old, I played my first year of softball. I remember practicing in the parking lot of school. I think my coach was Mr. Turner and I vaguely remember red helmets. Although, I could be wrong about that. Two years later, I started volleyball and basketball. By the time I was nine years old, all I wanted to do was play ball.

I grew up in a time when sports was competitive at all ages. There were winners and losers. Winners got trophies. Losers watched as the winners collected their trophies. Parents filled the stands and cheered loudly but nobody berated the coach because their kid didn't get enough playing time. Parents wanted their kids' teams to win.

I also played in an era where there were "A" teams and "B" teams. I played on the "B" teams but I never had a chip on my shoulder about it. And looking back, I am proud I wasn't on the "good" squads. What the "A" team coaches neglected to see in me was the fire I had, the desire to learn and a little bit of natural talent that I just needed help finding. I ended up playing ball all the way through college so I guess it didn't matter that I was only on the "B" team after all.

During my first college volleyball game, I tore up my left knee pretty badly. Badly enough, in fact, that I've had several procedures just so I can walk. And about 6 years after college, I injured my back which resulted in a lame left leg. So, I don't run well anymore. I don't run at all... really. It's somewhat painful but it's also hard to carry this big ol' body around on one leg.

Even though I am not the ideal candidate for a team, and most teams would rather not reserve a spot for me when it could be occupied by a girl who's more agile, I have never wanted to give it up. This will be my first summer with no sand volleyball and no softball. The thought of hanging it up causes tears to well up in my eyes.

I suppose I am lucky that my "career" in sports lasted this long. And I am truly thankful for the experiences I have had, the friends I have made and the person that sports helped me become. I told my Goddaughter the other night that when you keep asking for more rather than being grateful for the gifts you've already been given, you are ungrateful. I don't want to be ungrateful but it's hard. Maybe I'll do better tomorrow.

Painting & Passing Time

Since losing my job 5 months ago, I've been doing a lot of soul searching, trying to decide what I should do with my life.

Applying and interviewing for job after job wears on me psychologically and emotionally and the discouragement is overwhelming. I keep saying that something has to change soon and I try to hang on to the belief that I will be working again very soon but there are days when it's not easy.

So I have tried to turn my focus to doing things that I love to do and I've been working on ways to actually make money doing them. Unfortunately, you don't get paid to sing the national anthem so in between anthem gigs, I've been painting. I paint children's furniture and nurseries, mostly, along with the occasional painting for a bathroom or something odd like that.

I enjoy painting. It relaxes me. I don't really have a mind for business unfortunately so I haven't firgured out how to make a living doing it. There's a small part of me that is afraid if I relied on my painting to pay the bills, I wouldn't enjoy it as much. And, I figure there are a lot of folks out there who are actually trained to do things like this that are clogging up the market. (Man, I can't wait to get a job...)

But! I thought since I have very little to blog about right now, I should at least promote how I am passing time. If you know anyone who needs something painted, let me know!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Looking Out for Mom and Dad

I remember her hand-made dresses and high heels. I remember her matching jewelry and painted lips. I remember going to the salon with her every week to get her hair done. But I don't remember when she traded in her stylish duds for elastic pants and her pumps for white leather sneakers.

It seems I woke up one day and my mom was old. I don't mean that in a disrespectful or hurtful way. She is in her seventies now and comfort is king in her world. As she swapped styles, my mom also seemed to lose a little confidence. She seems more fearful now, needs my dad by her side more and stays home a lot more.

Watching my parents age was never as difficult for me as it became when I moved home two and a half years ago. Now, I witness changes from the front lines. And it scares me. It also makes me very sad. I am hyper-sensitive to their quirks and to the way they do things so when something is the least bit different, I worry and I ask a lot of questions. More questions than my dad likes me to ask.

I remember when life was easy. I remember when I didn't have to worry about anything because my parents did all the worrying. I remember when I was just the kid. But I had no idea that would all change one day and I would be looking out for my mom and dad.