Hunter was at tennis practice when his coached asked when his soccer season was going to end, so he could start participating in tennis tournaments on Saturday mornings. I informed the coach that soccer was a year round sport and we would just need to fit the tournaments in when we could.
He replied that he’s familiar with year-round sports because tennis is the same way, there’s never an off-season. I reminded him we’re very familiar with year-round tennis because Hallie never has an off-season. She moves from school tennis. To sweat-it-out-in-the-heat-of-summer tennis. To take-a-vacation-in-Idaho-and-enjoy-the weather-there tennis. To beautiful-Utah-summer tennis camp. To fall-clinic-and-prep-for-the-school-season tennis. She just cycles through all the seasons.
She’s had a couple tournaments recently in preparation for school try-outs and I love to watch her play. It’s equally fun to watch her dad cheer her on and support her. Its going to be a fun season, I can feel it!
I have tried for years to get Hunter to love basketball. He’s played a few seasons of rec ball with his friends, but he’s never been one to go outside to shoot some hoops, despite my best efforts and despite his natural ability. So I was a little surprised at the beginning of the school year when he said he was going to try-out for the school team, considering he hadn’t picked up a ball for two years (since the last rec season he played).
In all reality, I didn’t think it was a good idea with his already busy schedule: Junior high with all honors classed and trying to figure out how to manage that load, on top of multiple days of soccer and tennis once a week. I shared my concerns with Hunter and Steve made it pretty clear that he wouldn’t make the team because there were boys that have been working hard to make this team.
He didn’t even have basketball shoes – but wouldn’t you know it, Hallie’s shoes from last year fit him like a glove. As he was rushing out the door to his first day of try-outs, I told him to take her shoes and she was a little bugged because they were her shoes. I reminded her that she made the decision to not wear them again and as such it would be great if she would pass them on to Hunter. She reluctantly agreed.
Steve told me not to worry – he wouldn’t be making the team. After the first day of tryouts, Hunter came home and told us that there were over 60 kids trying out and he was pretty sure he’d make the team. Steve chuckled at his naivety. The next day after tryouts, they cut it down to 30 and Hunter was still there. My concern started to grow as I couldn’t fathom managing a schedule as busy as he was going to be.
The last day I picked him up, he was beaming when he told me he made the team and there was a small pit in my stomach. I admired his drive, athleticism and confidence but I was a little bugged that Steve thought it was a good idea for him to try-out to teach him a lesson in humility and it backfired.
Although it started on shaky ground, I’m happy to report he had a great, successful season. Just as I suspected, it was a rough go with managing his school work on top of being gone every night of the week. There were moments of frustration when he realized there were just weren’t enough hours in the day. He learned to be efficient in his school work, taking advantage of each opportunity of free time at school. He had to give up time with friends.
Just a week into the season, I picked him up from practice and he casually stated that he was going to go hang out with friends. He had a small window of time in between activities and he was going to fill it with friends. I had to remind him that he had scheduled himself to the point of not having time for friends – he needed to go home and work on school before having to leave again. As you can imagine that went over real well (Originally, he thought he would be playing basketball with all his friends, but unfortunately, most of them didn’t make the team.)
Luckily, he found his groove. He focused on his school work, carved out time for multiple sports and then spent weekend nights with friends when he could. Not to mention he was fun to watch. He’s a fast player and was quick to intercept the ball or make a steal and race down the court. Both Steve and I were a little disappointed at the end when he stated he still didn’t love the sport (We thought it might light a fire within him. We figured given his natural ability, with some effort he could be great – but it turns out he doesn’t love it. It also doesn’t help that in high school, basketball and soccer are the same season and he’s already made it clear he loves soccer.) It was a great learning experience for him. I feel a little guilty that I almost pushed him away from it. He learned real quick how to manage a heavy load and he did it better than expected.
Just when we thought Hallie’s shoes had been retired, they saw another life!
Bennett looks up to his older brother so much, so when he sees Hunter playing soccer, he too wants to play soccer. By some miracle, it worked out that Hunter’s coach happened to be coaching Bennett’s year as well. Although Bennett hadn’t played before, we decided to commit a little more time and money than we were originally anticipating and we had Bennet join the same club as Hunter at the lower academy level.
He learned so much and we saw so much growth in him. In the beginning, there were several players on his team that could run circles around most the team and I could see Bennett was intimidated by their skills. But he kept working at it. He ran two miles 2-3 times a week around the neighborhood and he worked on his footwork in the backyard. He knew he had some work to do to catch up and if there is one thing that Bennett doesn’t lack, it’s dedication.
He still has some work to do in the aggression department – soccer is not a timid sport and Bennett is still working on that aspect. It’s not natural for him to fight for the ball so he’s slowly learning Hunter’s “Beast Mode” mentality – we’ll see if it’s something that clicks.
He loved his team. He loved going to practice two days a week for the entire year. He loved belonging to something. He never complained or asked not to go. He was dedicated. He’s committed to another year so I hope next year is as good as this one.
After a year hiatus due to COVID – the pink fluffy unicorns made it back to the football field this year, complete with pink jersey and Steve was happy to coach!
They went into last weekend as an undefeated team ready to compete in the championship game. Sadly, they didn’t leave with the title. It wasn’t their best game and didn’t showcase how they can play, but that is life isn’t it?!
But they did have an exciting season, with some fun games. One game in particular was sweeter than the rest. It was a team that had beat us in the championship two years before and they were good and coached with intensity – being undefeated in three seasons a year for 4 years. And as good as they played, we just played better. And it killed their coach to watch us slowly pick away their offense. Hunter just happened to be involved in two crucial plays towards the end of the game – a touchdown with just minutes to spare that put us ahead by one point…
…and an interception 30 seconds later that sealed our lead and caused the coach of the other team to call the game. (Side note: Our family has played a lot of competitive sports and I’ve never seen a coach as intense as this one. He loved to yell and throw his hat and belittle his players. And in the end when we got the interception, he just called the game. He didn’t want us to turn around and score again so he called it. I have never witnessed anything like it.) This victory seemed to taste sweeter than any other game we played, it was our personal championship game.
Hunter had a good season and was fun to watch. He runs, he catches, he jukes, he anticipates…he loves the game. As a mom I’m left to wonder, why can’t we play flag football in high school?! Skip the tackle, lets just stick to flag!
The best part was he wasn’t afraid to play wearing pink or get cozy with the team mascot.
Hunter had a great cheering section – especially when we bribed them with after game treats!
We were sad to see the season come to an end – probably more so for Steve than anyone else because he loved coaching these kids. They all attend school together and play at recess and have such fun friendships. They’ll go on next fall to play flag football at the junior high and leave their proud coach behind.
Hallie made a goal several years ago to make the high school tennis team and this year all her hard work paid off. Unlike most sports, tennis at her high school carries very limited spots. 6 varsity, 6 JV and some alternates. In a large 6A school – those are some tough spots to earn.
Hallie’s training up to this point has been mostly technical with very limited match experience. so when she made the JV #5 spot, we were so excited for her and the opportunity to get a lot of match play. And then she worked her way up challenging teammates and landed in the JV #2 spot midway through the season. She crushed it. She went 25-3 overall in her season (14 single and 14 doubles matches) and her 3 losses were in the first week of the season when she was still gaining some confidence in match play.
Part of what made this season so fun was playing with one of her best friends, as well as one of her cousins. Sports are made infinitely better when you love your teammates, and that was definitely the case this season.
One thing I love about Hallie is she’s not afraid to match her mom – we loved sporting our matching tennis sweatshirts.
By the end of the season, playing JV #2, she was on the varsity roster as an alternate and she got to go to the state tournament as a freshman. And although she didn’t play, it was a great experience for her to see how the state tournament works and the level of competition she’ll be up against in the future. It only made her more excited. The day after her season ended she got home from school and said, “I just really want to go play tennis right now.” So she found a teammate wanting to play and off they went. She loves it. She’s good at it. And she’s got some awesome growth ahead of her.
The varsity roster – a young team – two freshman, a sophomore and five juniors. They’ll be back at it again next year.