Friday, November 22, 2013

Be Aggressive

Be aggressive! Be-e aggressive! B-E-AGG-RESSIVE! Every cheerleader knows the cheer. Nearly every athlete who has played a team sport has heard it.

From the time I could hold a ball, my parents taught me about sports. Football, basketball, softball... All of the team sports shared equal time in our backyard. My dad played high school football and my mom played high school basketball. Dad also played and coached softball into his 30s. They attended St. Louis Cardinal baseball games regularly and held season tickets for the St. Louis Hawks, Blues and Cardinals football team. So I didn't stand much of a chance if I didn't embrace the love of sports.

Thankfully, finding the love of the game was not a stretch for me. A strong, broad-shouldered, tall girl, I enjoyed every aspect of sport: the physicality, the teamwork, the winning. Blessed with incredible coaches and talented teammates over the course of an athletic career that started at the age of 8 and ended in college at 22, sports enriched my life.

In many ways, sports prepared me for life too. The comradery and the teamwork emblazoned on my brain, I always strived to create a team environment in my work situations. Playing sports with and against diverse groups of people and dealing with various personalities taught me that no matter how different you are, you can usually find some sort of common ground, even if it's just basketball. Sports taught me to work hard and to work hard to win. 

What the game did not teach me was that someday the aggressiveness with which I went after life is not something girls are supposed to do. And that someday, I'd be working with the cheerleaders, not just the athletes. And I'd be engaging in every day life with people who have neither an appreciation nor an understanding of the game. My parents and coaches could not have predicted that someday kids would play sports just to play, not to win. And someday winning wouldn't mean as much as just finishing.

Now in my 40s, crippled by degenerative joint disease and knees with little or no cartilage, my playing days are over but my love for the game is not. A fiery passion for sport still fills my spirit when I coach or teach or watch others play. I love what sports taught me and I love the person I am because of the game. Even if others see my aggressive determination and my desire to win as something negative or something unbecoming of a lady... I wouldn't trade learning how to lose gracefully and how to win graciously or developing life-long relationships or traveling the world with my Nikes in tow for anything. 
This is who I am. Perhaps, even, who I was born to be. 

Aggressive. Be-e aggressive.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Quizzes and Q&A

For a short period of time, Facebook buzzed with quizzes and Q&A between friends. Lists of questions passed from person to person and each one tagged ten more people to get in on the fun. I stumbled across one the other day and, while reading through it, realized how much life has changed for me in just over two years. So I thought I'd do it again. Many of the answers are the same but some are very different. Here they are:

1. What time did you get up this morning? 6AM
2. How do you like your steak? medium
3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Best Man Holiday
4. What is your favorite TV show?  Sons of Anarchy, All of the Real Housewives & Shahs of Sunset
5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? I'd rather be able to just travel the world than pick one perfect place to live.
6. What did you have for breakfast? Sadly, I had nothing.
7. What is your favorite cuisine? Anything hot & spicy
8. What foods do you dislike?  Hmm... not a huge fan of kale.
9. Favorite Place to Eat? my own kitchen!
10. Favorite dressing? the cheesy dressing my mom makes
11. What kind of vehicle do you drive? Ford Edge
12. What are your favorite clothes?  Jeans & a sweatshirt
13. Where would you visit if you had the chance? I have a long list... Greece, Italy, etc.
14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full? Half full
15. Where would you want to retire? I will probably be working for the rest of my life. But... if I did retire, I would live here in good ol' MO in a house on the lake.
16. Favorite time of day? Evening
17. Where were you born?  St. Louis, MO
18. What is your favorite sport to watch?  Almost all of them. I can't watch golf for a long time.
19. Bird watcher?  If a bird catches my eye, I will watch it. I will not go looking for them though.
20. Are you a morning person or a night person?  I am a total night owl.
21. Pets? After a number of my fish committed suicide, I adopted a beautiful black Beagle/Lab mix. I love that dog!
22. Any new and exciting news that you'd like to share?  You wish. Just stay tuned. I have a lot of things in the hopper. (And a lot of obstacles right now but not for long.)
23. What did you want to be when you were little?  The quarterback of the football Cardinals or a singer
24. What is your best childhood memory? in general, i cherish the memories of how free we were to run the neighborhood and how much time we spent outside with our friends.
25. Are you a cat or dog person?  dog 
26. Are you married?  Never. Um, I mean. No... not yet. :) 
27. Always wear your seat belt?  always
28. Ever had your purse or wallet stolen? yes. twice.
29. Any pet peeves? i usually can't put my finger on anything until it happens and then I'm like "OH I HATE THAT!"
30. Favorite pizza topping?  cheese
31. Favorite Flower? Gerber daisies
32. Favorite ice cream? Baskin Robbins Chocolate Peanut Butter
33. Favorite fast food restaurant?  McDonald's (yes, it's true)
34. How many times did you fail your driver's test?  None
35. From whom did you get your last email? a coworker named Karen
36. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? Target
37. Do anything spontaneous lately? Not lately. But I LOVE spontaneity. I might have to do something this weekend.
38. Like your job? Yes! I love the work I do. And I really enjoy my team.
39. Broccoli? Love it.
40. What was your favorite vacation?  I love them all and I love them often
41. Last person you went out to dinner with?  Val, Connie, Tiffany, Carlette & Gynequa... a group of gals I met in my 20s who I adore and for whom I am very grateful
42. What are you listening to right now?  the news
43. What is your favorite color?  red
44. How many tattoos do you have?  none yet
45. Coffee drinker?  never
46. How many children do you have? lots of them
47. If you team up with any superhero/villain who would it be?  Batman (I don't know why this was my answer the first time but... I'll stick with it.)