Football Wrap-up…

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.

Tennis wrap-up…

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.

Basketball wrap-up…

Hallie has moved on to tennis, but we’ve got to give basketball is well deserved space. Her season ended up being a roller coaster of emotions, especially after they thought it was cancelled (here).

But she kept playing. And just after the season was cancelled and then reinstated, she was asked to move up to the JV team. We love her dearly, but we were a little confused as to why they were bringing her up – she has so little experience and although athletic, she has a lot to learn. We felt she would get more out of staying on the freshman team and getting more playing time. But it wasn’t our decision and she moved up.

The first couple games she only got a couple minutes each game. But with each passing game she started to get more and more time until she was playing half the game. She played in close games. She scored. She stole the ball. She started to understand the game and she didn’t look quite as scared on the court! 🙂 She came a really long way in a short amount of time and she loved playing.

What’s funny is she went almost the whole season without fouling a single person, not one. And then in the second to last game she finally fouled someone when going for a loose ball. And then she didn’t stop – her aggression kicked in and after four fouls, the coach pulled her because he didn’t want her to have her first five fouls of the season in a single game!

So proud of her and how hard she has worked to play basketball – she’s now got a JV letter and ready to add more pins. 🙂

Basketball wrap-up…

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It’s no surprise that Hunter loves sports. It doesn’t quite matter what the sport is, he loves them all. He finished up basketball season just before spring break and I learned something this season while watching him.

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He may not be the best player on the court/field, but the kid knows how to hustle. What he lacks in skill, he makes up for in grit and that alone makes him fun to watch. He learned early this season that his most valuable shot to practice was the lay-up and he spent many afternoons practicing. I think he made all of his points this year on that one shot – it paid off over and over again.

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His last game (tournament game) the play was a little rough. He took some hard hits and one undercut from behind as he shot the ball. He fell from a jumping position flat on his back and hit his head hard on the floor. He didn’t get up right away, he went into the fetal position holding his head and crying. He’s usually a pretty tough kid so we knew he was in some pain. We got him off the court and evaluated him – he seemed to be doing okay, he definitely got the wind knocked out of him and he was taken some time on the bench. We went back and sat in the bleachers – didn’t think much about it.

At half-time a mom of a team mate who is a nurse came to talk with us and asked if she could go take a look at him. Even before looking at him she thought he had a concussion because of how loud it was when he hit the floor. That’s not what I wanted to hear – it was his final game of the season, it was a close three-point game, the team needed Hunter. She took a look at him and said he shouldn’t go back in. (She also thought he had hit his head earlier in the game, so this was the second hit, but it was only his first time hitting his head, he landed on his elbow the other time.)

Once again, my gut was telling me he was fine but I wasn’t a nurse. And really I wasn’t sure if my desire to have him play was clouding my judgement for his safety. Before the nurse returned to her seat she said if it was her son, she wouldn’t let him back in and we shouldn’t let Hunter back on the court. Now if I let him play I look like the worst mom on the planet! Instead, we left it up to Hunter. He heard what the nurse suggested and we reiterated to him the risk and then we walked away from the bench.

He didn’t end up going back in the game on his own accord. I’ll be honest, it was a little hard to watch, especially as his team started to implode. His teacher showed up at the game and he wasn’t playing. Our friends showed up and he wasn’t playing. He just sat at the end of the bench for his final game.

I’m glad he made the decision for himself and it wasn’t something forced upon him. In the end, I don’t think he had a concussion. He never displayed any of the symptoms – and we watched him closely. (Shockingly he didn’t even have a goose egg.) However, the game did get even more physical so perhaps had he stayed in he would have been more seriously injured.

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At the close of this season, we thought we would be moving on to the next sport – Flag football – his very favorite sport…but that season has been cancelled. It didn’t cross my mind that watching that last tournament game would be our last sporting event for a long time!

The weekend…

Normally life with 5 kids is pretty manageable. We have been very deliberate as to what we put our kids in to make sure everything stays manageable. Although Saturday we had the perfect storm of activities and there was some serious juggling.

Hallie had a tennis tournament at 9. Steve took her at 8:30 to warm up and I joined with the other kids at 9. Steve had to leave shortly after to conduct a funeral service. A friend (who also had a girl at the tennis tournament) took Bennett to his soccer round robin tournament while we watched Hallie. The progress she’s made in the last 5 months has been amazing.

After Hallie and our friend’s daughter were finished with tennis we went to Bennett’s tournament where Steve met us after the funeral. After Bennett’s tournament, Bennett had additional soccer at another location that he had to rush off to. He claims soccer is his favorite sport and he is working so hard to improve. He has more drive and dedication than all the other kids combined. Drive will take him far in life.

Hallie and the little kids went home (to nap) while we rushed off to Hunter’s soccer game.

Hunter’s game was in the heat of the day and I had already been outside for four hours. My legs are nice and red after this additional hour and a half in the sun. Hunter loves all sports and soccer just happens to be what he plays competitively – at least this year.

This game was a little hard to watch as the ref lost control of the game early on and it just got ugly, real ugly. The team that we were playing knew how to play dirty and there wasn’t a ref stopping them.

Hunter took a couple hits in the back – most of which were when the ball was in play. However there was a two hand shove after the play stopped and he fell face first onto the ground. I think he was surprised more than anything but it also hurt to hit the ground that hard – there’s not a lot of grass to pad the fall.

The longer the game went on the harder it was to watch. We’ve played a lot of teams and we haven’t met this kind of cheap physical play. It wasn’t until the very end of the game when one of the other team’s players had had his 13th 2nd chance and he was asked to get off the field. Not with a red card. Not with a penalty kick. He was just asked to leave. We had two goals that were called back for one reason or another so when the game ended in a tie it was a tough ending. Fortunately, there were no broken bones, just a few scrapes and bruises.

We pulled in the driveway at 3pm with Hallie asking to go play basketball and go to the temple with friends. We hopped back in the car to drop her off and pick up a trampoline off craigslist to replace ours that flew over the fence and folded like a taco back in July.

Of course we ended the evening building a trampoline which is not what I had in mind after a long day but the kids were dying to get it put together.

Both Steve and I sat on the bed last night amazed that we made it through an abnormally busy day. In fact, I can’t recall any Saturday that we’ve run around that much. Normally we wouldn’t sign up for conflicting events but Hallie’s tournament was a make up from the week before when it rained and you never plan for funerals, right!? Friends helped get kids to and from and that’s the only way it was possible. I said multiple times, “It takes a village”.

Luckily, I really do love watching my kids play sports at all levels and we do make that a priority as a family. Even when the cheering squad ends up cheering at just the wrong time during a tennis match! I need to teach them a golf clap – they think they’re in a basketball gymnasium! 🙂