The Letter She Received this Morning

Look at you! My first-born in her first varsity competition! I have dreamed about this day since you were born… although I did not think it would come this soon.

You were so nervous when you found out that you were chosen, you freaked out and started crying. You started the dangerous game of playing all of the “what if” scenarios in your head.

What if I miss?

What if I do the wrong thing?

What if I suck?

It was funny to watch such a composed girl, a girl who I have viewed countless times score baskets in numerous situations, freak out about something that seems so trivial.

But then I remember how young you are. I often forget that. You have conducted yourself in such a way that it is easy for anyone to forget that you are a year or more younger than girls in your grade.

As you are traveling to the venue, I know you are nervous, so I am going to give you some advice:

• You are going to suck; embrace it – It is your first crack at some real competition. Newsflash: you may not win. The coach believes in you but understands that you are very green. You do not have a target on your back, so you are in a low risk/high reward situation. Just go out there and compete.

• Have fun in the moment – There are many who would love to be in your shoes. Next week, it could be someone else; but today, it is all you. Live in the moment, and everything will be fine.

• Take notes – There is going to be a lot of good athletes out there. Most of them have been playing this sport a lot longer than you. Take notes on the best or the ones that you favor. Look at their routines, study their approaches, emulate their techniques so that later you can make those same techniques work for you.

• Do not try to live up to any other athletes’ standard – As I said before, these athletes have been doing this a lot longer than you have. Don’t try too hard to outplay them. You are here to gain varsity experience so that you can learn the game at a different level and with a different pace. If you make this a head game, you will be terrible. Relax, slow down, and play like this is recreational. Winning is nice, but it is not the point.

• It is really about the small victories – Playing a sport that you just picked up 2 months ago is a win; daring to join the school team is a win; being chosen for varsity is a win. Enjoy the small victories. The big ones will come later, don’t look for them now. If they happen – great, but if they don’t, learn from it, count yourself fortunate, and move on.

Your mother and I are proud of you. And we cannot wait to hear about the day.

Now, go have fun.

Father of the Year Moment #99: I got 99 problems…

“Dad. What is a good number in Basketball?”

“23”

“No. Seriously?”

“23.”

“How about 2?”

“Yup, that’s fine.”

“Well, I picked 99!”

“Wait. Wha?!”

Are you shittin’ me?! 99?! What basketball coach lets a kid pick 99?! What is she — starting at left end now?!

Just imagine:

“Hey, who’s your daughter?”

“Number 99, The one who’s fouling the shit out of everyone.”

He did this on purpose. 😡

Father of the Year Moment #399 – Re-discovery:

On my road trip to and from Iowa with My Oldest, I found out:

She is a fierce competitor, but does not have as much self-confidence as she puts out.

She runs like the wind, but has the running form of Popeye.

She does whatever is in her power to impress me and is upset with herself when I am not happy (even if it is not about her).

She is very funny, but she sucks at telling jokes.

She is kind.

She has a non-chalant attitude, but cares about other’s opinions.

She screams for independence but wants me right by her side.

She is very book smart, yet very gullible.

She loses everything. Usually, it is right in front of her.

She is very tall for her age and has huge feet, which is why people are surprised when they discover her age.

With all of my deadlines for work and school, I had barely noticed how she is becoming her own person. This is happening way too quickly!

Father of the Year Moment #656 – The Progression of Sports Equipment/Apparel:

Kid #1: Only the best for him. Look good, play good, right?

Kid #2: Hmmm… Well, it does fit; and (kid #1) only used it a few times…

Kid #3: That cost how much?! Oh heyell naw; I got one right here; put this on. I said, put. it. on!

Kid #4: I don’t give a damn if it does have a hole in it, you want to play (the sport), right?! Where is my duct tape?

Father of the Year moment #66:

On the way home from track practice:

“You know when you get back, you have to go to bed.”

“No! I am not tired.”

“Yes you are! You won’t last the drive back.”

“Okay, I will make you a deal. If I am awake when we get to the house, then I get to stay up a little longer.”

“You won’t, but fine!”

(5 minutes later)

“Still up!”

(I turn the heat to 80 degrees)

(10 minutes later, I see her head shoot straight up)

“Still up!”

(I turn the radio to classical music – aaaand done)

1-0

BTW: She was not in this position the entire time.

Ten things I learned at a Taekwondo Extravaganza:

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Holy Buckets!
  1. I think a better name for it would be “Bow Fest”.
  2. If you yell “Hiyaa” really loud while doing anything, you might win a trophy or a medal.
  3. There are actually boards you can buy that can be broken and be put back together — only to be broken again (God, I wish I would have thought of that)!
  4. There is a special way that you tie your belt. The knot should look like a fortune cookie. I don’t see the fortune cookie, but I am hungry because…
  5. They last a very long time! Pack a lunch.
  6. The medals and trophies are some of the coolest I have ever seen.
  7. There is something called a pattern competition where each athlete must perform a sequence of moves in order to place high. Some of these patterns require nothing more than fine finger movements and/or placements. It is actually impressive to watch a ten-year-old memorize and perform a 16-sequence pattern.
  8. Two first-graders sparing against each other is probably one of the funniest/cutest things you will ever see.
  9. Taekwondo does not discriminate. You can be differing sizes, abilities, athleticism, and/or backgrounds and still earn top honors in a respective event – which means that there is still hope for me!
  10. Taekwondo requires masterful concentration and hours of preparation. It has actually done wonders for my daughter.
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To the victor…

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