Posts Tagged ‘basketball’

Running The Race

Josh track 2014 2As my grandchildren get closer to graduation from high school, I am beginning to realize just how much I am going to miss all their activities. As little ones, there were the school plays, awards ceremonies, and track day, and they might also play basketball or soccer. Then in summer they might play baseball or some other sport. By the time they were in middle school, the plays were gone, but there was still the occasional concert, basketball, track, and summer baseball. I began to realize that we were at the end of that era after Josh graduated to middle school. Things were very different now. By this time, all three of the other grandchildren had decided that they didn’t want to be in sports in school anymore, although, Chris and Caalab like to play softball on their team from work in the summer, and that is fun to watch too. Still, mostly they were busy with their jobs, studies, and plans for their futures.

I realize that if I want to see much of the school activities anymore, I will need to attend as many of Josh’s track meets as I can. I always liked to go to them, but this years has been more difficult. There were more of them that were during the day and during the work week. Nevertheless, I have been able to make a couple of them. I think it is sad that the closer I get to having no more of these activities, the fewer I am able to get to. I know that I will miss these when they are over.

Today was one of the times I was able to get to Josh’s meet. I really love to watch Josh run. He does best at the long races, and I think that those kids who do the 800 meter and 1600 meter races are to be commended. I like the 400 meter too with Josh. He just seems to be Josh track 2014able to bring it on as the race progresses. That is so not like his grandmother. Running is not my thing. I can walk for two hours or more, but running…less that 5 minutes. Josh is my hero in the running arena. This year has been a bit of a transition for Josh, and that has been a little hard. Before, he raced against his own age group, but in high school they all race together. Some of those seniors are quite a bit stronger than Josh. Nevertheless, Josh stood his ground against kids who are bigger, older, and stronger than he is. I know that as he grows, he will be the one who is bigger, older, and stronger, and then he will be in charge. I can’t wait for that day, but in the meantime, I enjoy watching the journey he is on.

And We Thought We Knew Her

Joann's yearbook pictureWe often think we know everything there is to know about a person, but what we don’t know would really surprise us. Recently while going through some old pictures, I came across my mother-in-law’s high school yearbooks, and her old scrap book. What I found in there surprised me very much, but that is not so surprising, since I first met her when she was 43 years old. Nevertheless, I expect that some of the things I found out about her, will surprise even her children, because I know they don’t know most of what I discovered.

For all the years I have known my mother-in-law, she was a homemaker, and pretty much a home body. She liked knitting and crocheting, and had done quite a bit of sewing in her time. She canned vegetables, and had raised many a cow for beef for the family. She loved horses, and as a girl, she would have rather been on a horse than pretty much anywhere else. That is all things we all did know about her. But…in high school, my mother-in-law was quite the joiner. Now that surprised me very much. Joann's Drill Team_0002aHer extra curricular activities included things like office aide and library staff, neither of which would be outside the realm of what I would have expected from her, nor would working on the annual staff or even the school paper, called The Shovel. Any of those things might have been something that I could see her being interested in. Really, other than the horse riding, my mother-in-law had always seemed to me like the quiet type, who didn’t like things that were noisy or too strenuous, so any of these things would fit into my idea box for her personality.

Then, my idea of just who she was, took a major hit. The scrapbook showed pictures of her as a member of the school drill team…the baton twirlers, as many of us would know them. I thought, “Wow!! That just doesn’t seem like her at all!!” To add to my surprise, I found that she was also a member of the pep club!! You can’t even get her interested in Joann's Drill Team_0001watching a football game today, so what was this all about? After this, I wasn’t totally surprised to find that she was on the basketball team, but since she as not been very athletic in all the years I have known her…not even wanting to go for a walk, I must say, it was hard to imagine her being out on the basketball court.

By now, my whole view of the person my mother-in-law used to be has been completely shattered, so I began to be prepared for more surprises to come, and she did not let me down in that area either. Since I have never heard my mother-in-law sing, my next big shocker was to find that she was a member of the Glee Club…who would have thought that?? But, it doesn’t stop there. She was also a member of the Dramatics Club. Imagine that, my mother-in-law the actress. I simply cannot imagine her being in a play, but apparently she was. And lest we leave out perhaps one of the most shocking Joann's yearbook picture_0001things, I was informed that she was into school politics!! In fact, she was it’s leader, being duly elected Senior Class President of the Class of 1949 at Colstrip High School in Colstrip, Montana. She has never been interested in politics that I can recall, and mostly wouldn’t even discuss it much.

I’m sure you think that you have heard all the things about my mother-in-law’s high school years that there could possibly be to tell, but you would be wrong, because the thing that shocked me the most, whether it should have or not, was the fact that while my mother-in-law has never gone by anything but Joann in all the years I have known her, apparently there was a time when she was…Annie. I wouldn’t have believed it myself, but it is there in black and white in her yearbook. Today is my mother-in-law’s 83rd birthday!! Happy birthday…Annie! Have a great day!! We love you!!

His Top Priority

Shooting the BasketMy grand nephew, Xander is the oldest of the five children of my niece, Jenny and her husband, Steve. He takes his job as the first born very seriously. Like any kid, he has his fights with his two brothers, but that has nothing to do with his duties as the big brother. They are his little brothers and his little sister, and they are his top priority. Xander is wise beyond his years and knows the value of life…possibly because he has already experienced loss in his young life, having lost his sister, Laila when she was 18 days old and he was seven years old. It was an event that made his tender heart break. Now, like his brothers, he brings little gifts to the sister he won’t get to know on this Earth, because his big brother’s heart feels so much love for her.
Shoveling the walk
As the oldest child, Xander tries to always be a good role model for his younger siblings. That means studying hard and getting good grades, so he can encourage them to do the same. It also means that he works hard at whatever job he is doing, because he knows that it is the right thing to do…to always do your very best work. So that’s what he does whenever he is asked to help out around the house…he works hard at it and does the job right. And it means that Xander stays out of trouble, because how can a big brother be a good role model for his younger siblings, if he is getting in trouble all the time. He is the kind of boy who makes his parents proud, and makes his brothers want to be just like him. He is a good and loving boy.
Big Brother
In his leisure time, Xander participates is sports…of all kinds. He likes to play football and basketball. He also studies Tae kwon do. He likes to ride motorcycles and snowmobiles. He’s tried lots of sports, but football is his very favorite. Like his dad, he also loves guns, and loves to go out the range to do some shooting. Of course, any guy who likes gun, likes to hunt, and Xander is no exception. After passing his Hunter Safety Course in mid-March, I’m sure that he is very excited to go hunting with his dad this fall.  All in all, Xander is just an all around boy. Today is Xander’s birthday. Happy birthday Xander!! We love you very much!! Have a great  10th birthday!!

A Big Heart

Track 2Everyone has a talent in life…something they are very good at. Even kids excel at things, for their age group, and sometimes, well beyond their years. My grandson, Josh loves to play basketball and run in track. Earlier this year, he played in his last middle school basketball game, and today I attended his regular track meet, and most likely the last of his middle school events. It is sad really, to watch kids grow up. Those years pass by so quickly. Before you know it, they are all grown up, and out on their own. That is why I like to attend their activities whenever I can.

So, today, I watched my youngest grandson run with all Track 1his heart. He was entered in four races, and happily, he placed in four races. He placed 6th in the 400 meter race. His team took 7th in the 4 X 100 Meter Relay. He took 4th in the 800 meter race, and his team took 2nd in the 4 X 400 Meter Relay. It was a fantastic day for Josh, and I am so proud of his accomplishments.

Josh had a rocky start in life…coming 5 weeks ahead of his due date, and spending 2 weeks in Presbyterian Saint Luke’s Hospital. While there, he was given great care, ans as soon as his lungs were developed enough to put him out of danger, he came home to live with his mom, dad, and big brother, Chris. In the years that followed, there were few signs of his early Grandma with Joshstruggles left, and most definitely none in the area of his lungs or his appetite. He grew strong, and active, and before long, was proving that he was a fighter…both in life and in sports.

Josh also has a heart for caregiving, and has been instrumental in the care given to his great grandparents since 2005. I think he could easily be an EMT or Paramedic when he grows up, because that ability seems to come naturally to him. Maybe he knows that there were people who stepped in and took care of him when he needed it most, I don’t know for sure, but whatever the case, he has a talent for caring for those in need. Josh is just a loving and talented boy. He has a big heart and I’m very proud of him.

Smile Sometimes

New Cut, So CuteThere are people out there, who are just always happy. My niece Kellie is like that. Things just don’t get under her skin, like they do for most of us. I guess there just isn’t room for bothersome things with Kellie, because silliness and giggles live there. Don’t get me wrong, Kellie is a hard worker, and she can be serious if the situation warrants it, but she much prefers to be funny. She loves to make people laugh, and what better trait to have than that. Of course, Kellie comes by it honestly. Her whole family is like that. The girls have nicknames for each other, like Jeff for Jessi, and Lance for Lindsay. And their mom, my sister has nicknames for the kids too, like Baby Jessi (which she still is called today) Squirrel (which Lindsay is also still called), the boy (for Ryan, of course), and Pretty, Teeny, Sweet, and Little (which definitely doesn’t fit Kellie now, as the tallest girl). And Kellie also has a nickname from her sister-in-law, Chelsea…Keeker, which I think is quite cute too. And Kellie makes sure she gets in on the nicknames too, because since Captainette Americaseveral of us are on the short side, and she is tall, we have been dubbed the wee ones.

As I have said, Kellie is tall. She is actually 5’11″ tall. When she was in high school, and playing basketball, her coach used to say that she was 6 feet tall, as a way of intimidation for the other team. Well, as I said, Kellie likes to laugh, and that always struck her as very funny, so she would be out on the court, playing, and she couldn’t stop laughing. Of course, the coach had a different plan in mind for Kellie. When he said that she was 6 feet tall, he was envisioning a mean looking player that would scare the socks off the other team. Kellie was a good player, but she didn’t have a mean or intimidating bone in her body, so he tried to help make that happen…by yelling out to her, “Kellie! Stop smiling!” Now telling Kellie to stop laughing or smiling, is like telling her to stop breathing. It just wasn’t going to happen.

And Kellie had the same problems in her gym class. She just can’t stop laughing. Kellie & EthanOne time in gym class, the teacher heard the normal bout of laughter, and of course, knew exactly who was doing the laughing. The teacher yelled out, “Kellie! Shut up!” Suddenly, there was silence in the room…pretty unexpected I’m sure. Then, out of the silence, someone said, “Kellie isn’t here today.” Now I don’t know about you, but I would have totally lost it right about then…as I’m quite sure the rest of the class did. I would have loved to see the teacher’s face right then too. Hahahahahaha!! Classic!!! Today is Kellie’s birthday!! And just as soon as I stop laughing, I’m going to tell her happy birthday. Love you Kellie!! Happy birthday, and have a great day!! And…don’t be so serious…smile sometimes!!! Hahahahahahaha!!!

The Last Regular Game

Josh guarding in basketballGuardingLast night, I  went to  the last regular season basketball game I will ever attend for the middle school aged kids. Why? Because, my youngest grandson, Josh is the last of my grandchildren in middle school. That fact seems so odd to me. How can it be that my youngest grandchild is going into high school next year? It’s funny that it isn’t so much the first child to do the landmark things in life that shocks you, but rather the last one to do them. I suppose that it is because once you start a new level in life, you naturally think it will go on this way forever, and when you find out that it isn’t so, you are somehow startled by that revelation.

Josh has grown so much in his abilities. When he was in grade school, he was almost afraid of the getting ball, or should I say, of making a mistake. It has taken a lot of encouragement to get him to be more aggressive on the court, but the work his family has done, has really paid off. Josh doesn’t back off when someone tries to get the ball. He holds on tight, and gets the jump shot. He used to be nervous about dribbling the ball down the court and going for the basket, but now he goes for that too, and isn’t even afraid of going for the 3 pointer, which he has gotten pretty good at making. He is turning into a great basketball player.

The tournament starts this Friday, and that will be the last tournament, as will I don't think so!Stay Backtrack when he participates in that. It won’t be the last year he participates in sports, I’m sure, but it will be in a different setting. While I know that he will just get better and better each year, I also know that he is growing up, and things will be different. He improves so much with each year, that I know that next year will be even better than this year was, so what is my problem? I guess it is that my youngest boy is growing up, and I guess I just wish he wouldn’t do that so fast.

Someone You Can Count On

My brother-in-law, Mike is a fraternal twin, something that was new to our family. He is one of six children, 3 boys and 3 girls. Their family was lively, as any family with 6 kids would be. There was always something going on, and I’ll bet that with 3 boys and 3 girls, there was a lot of picking on the sisters going on too. Having not had brothers myself, I wouldn’t know how that is, but I have heard all the typical horror stories told by friends who had brothers, and of course, by my own granddaughter, Shai, who is quite thankful that she only had one brother.

I think that being part of a big family teaches teamwork, and Mike seems to have learned that lesson very well. Whenever there is a big project to do around my mom’s house, we can always count on Mike to pitch in and help out. He is quick to help with painting, yard work, deck building, and any other project. With continued maintenance needed at Mom’s house, these projects are ongoing, and they mean that the guys is the family might have to give up a weekend of fishing or camping to do them. Still they never complain, and for that we are grateful.

Mike is a patient man, which is an important trait, in any area of ones life, but Mike also has a great sense of humor, and an infectious laugh. When something strikes him as funny, it seems like his whole being gets into it.  That kind of  laugh makes everyone want to get in on the joke. I would think that his sense of humor would make their house a great place to live and grow up. And as in most households, sometimes a sense of humor is a matter of survival. With three kids, I’m sure he and my sister, Alena had those moments when the only thing that got you through it was that sense of humor.

Mike is very much a sportsman. He enjoys all of the outdoor sports like hunting, fishing, and camping. He is an avid football, basketball, and baseball fan too. He has played on local baseball teams in the summer. He likes to go to the shooting range for target practice, and at some point this summer, Bob and I plan to go along and give that a try. Now if that is anything like the way I play golf…well, let’s just say that it’s a good thing that people don’t stand beyond a certain line, because I could be dangerous. Maybe Mike can give me some pointers, because I certainly need them. Mike likes bowling too, and has bowled on local leagues. If it has to do with sports, chances are Mike is interested.

Today is Mike’s birthday. Happy birthday Mike!! Our family has been very blessed to have you in it. You are a great brother-in-law. Have a wonderful day!! We love you!!

Future Choices

My second grandson, Caalab is good at sports. He plays basketball and football, but they really aren’t his first love, though he is a good player in both sports. Caalab has several artistic qualities, as well as being a great comedian. Caalab has been taking guitar lessons at school for several years, and is quite good at playing the guitar. He loves it when he and his dad can jam together.

Recently, Caalab has discovered that he is quite good at drawing. He was goofing around one day and decided to try to draw his favorite Disney character…Pluto. So he started drawing, and it came out perfectly, as you can see from the picture here. Now I don’t know about you, but I have tried to draw, and it was a disaster. You know, those “Can you draw this” contests…well, the answer for me is “No, I can’t.” One thing I’m definitely not…is an artist.

Caalab has some real talent…in several areas. He can do anything he chooses to do. Of course, like most kids his age, he is keeping his options open. Meaning that he doesn’t really know what he wants to do for life yet. His dad works in radio, and Caalab could easily go into radio too if he wanted, and with his quick wit, he would be good at it. He could go into music or art or be a comedian. Very few people can come up with the funny stuff that Caalab can. He can always make me laugh. And he never forgets a punch line. Most of us have forgotten the punch line and and stumbled around with several “um, um’s” before finally given up on telling the joke. But not Caalab. He has been telling jokes since he was 4 or 5 years old. He’s really good at it, as he is at several other things.

Caalab’s choices are many, and time is on his side. I know he will be good at whatever he chooses to do, but for right now, I think I’m glad he isn’t ready to go out into the world just yet. Like my other grandchildren, Caalab is growing up so fast, and I am not ready for him to be all grown up. When you first have grandchildren, you just don’t think ahead to when they will be grown, but that time comes all to fast, and I would like to slow it down some.

A Formidable Opponent

While his older brother loves football, Josh’s game is basketball. Chris was good at basketball too, but it wasn’t really important to him. Josh loves the game. And Josh is suited to the game too. He is tall and slender, and very quick on his feet. He has learned so much, this season especially. Maybe it is partly because he has a really good coach, but I think that he is coming into his own this year. He isn’t afraid to shoot the basket, like he sometimes was in the past. He knows he can do it now. Also, he is tall enough to rebound well, and steal the ball easily.

His team is undefeated so far this year. They are a formidable opponent for any team. Their coach has taught them well, and they operate as a team. They don’t care who shoots the baskets, only that each player has done his best and given it his all. That is was teamwork is all about. Each of the boys supporting the others…watching their backs. That is what I see in Josh and his team.

Josh is one of the taller boys on his team, so it makes him one of the better guards. It is very hard to shoot over him, and very easy for him to block the shots. I am amazed at how quickly he moves and how immovable he is when he is guarding. The more he plays the better he will get. Of course, that is the same for most sports. If you are dedicated and you practice, you can get better at the sports you love.

I have seen such growth in Josh this year…in more ways than just sports. Oh sure, he is still a bit of a jokester, and he loves to pick on me…and other people, including his mom, but he just seems more grown up now. Maybe I notice it more with him because he is the youngest of my grandchildren. It’s easy to always look at the youngest child or grandchild, and think they will always be the little one. Then one day you look at them and you suddenly see them for the young adult they are. It can be quite a shock. When my grandchildren started arriving, I thought they would be little for a long time, but now suddenly they are all teenagers, even this youngest one that I have most recently discovered in no longer little, but a formidable opponent.

Treat, Grandma…Treat

When my grandchildren were younger, their moms had to be to work at 8:00am, and I didn’t have to be to work until 9:00am, so I took the kids to school and daycare. They would begin arriving at my house around 7:30am, and when Josh, my youngest grandson, would walk in the front door, the first words out of his mouth were always the same…”Treat, Grandma…treat!!” Josh was a treat-a-holic, he had a one track mind, and he was always hungry. Left alone with a bag of candy, he would devour it all in one sitting. It wasn’t a matter of greed, he just liked treats so much that he couldn’t stop himself very easily.

When Josh would start asking for a treat with his cute little face, it was a hard thing to resist and I think he knew that, because he took full advantage of the hold he had on his grandma’s heart. He probably conned me out of more treats than the other three grandchildren combined. The only good news was that I tried to have some nutritious sweet snacks in the house, so he wasn’t always eating junk. I just don’t know how one kid could eat so many treats.

Josh can be a bottomless pit, but not usually for the normal foods unless he is in a growth spurt, but he is always a bottomless pit when it comes to sweets, like many other people I know, but that is where the similarities end, and I’m sure it is because he is a kid. You would expect that a child who likes candy and treats as much as Josh, would be an overweight child, but as soon as his baby days were over, so was any sign of chubbiness. Josh turned into a slender, athletic young man, who is a good basketball player and runner. He is also doing well in school, and I am very proud of him, but oh, I do remember the days when that little boy could smile his way into my heart and come out with the prize he was looking for…a treat.