Archives For Beginning

“I hope Coach Kim remembers the stickers,” my daughter said as she spilled her thoughts from the back seat of the van on our way to school.

Glancing at her stoic expression from my rear view mirror as she gazed out the side window made me smile. It was not the first time, and I imagined it wouldn’t be the last, that she mentioned those stickers.

 

I wished her a Happy Monday, kissed her goodbye, and drove away with a full heart knowing we would reunite to talk about our days roughly eight hours later.

Not having much time to catch up on our daily happenings when I returned home from work and she from school, since I am notorious for always running late, we gathered our gloves and bottled water and found ourselves back in the same van with a different destination: the softball field. The same softball field where we’ve gathered every Monday night for over a month now with her softball friends.

Back when I was asked to coach my daughter and her teammates in their newly-formed 10U softball team, I was hesitant to agree. Who was I to be offering up coaching advice after stepping away from the game for so many years to raise my own kids? Who was I to be dealing with opposing coaches, league officials, parents, and other adults who may or may not be involved in the game for the right reasons?

Over the years, I watched my fair share of baseball, basketball, and football from the sidelines. I observed all the time and effort my husband gave (and continues to give) coaching our children in different sports and I wasn’t sure I had it in me to deal with ALL OF IT.

But then I thought…why not me? Why not now? I know I want this to be about the kids before anything else. I know I want to be involved in my daughter’s extra-curricular activities. So I recruited two outstanding assistant coaches and committed to the adventure.

I wrote my own mike-matheny-inspired-letter-to-the-parents and distributed it our first meeting together. Hands down the most important thing to me is open communication with the players and their parents. Second most important thing is motivation.

Which brings me back to those stickers my daughter’s been thinking about.

One of my assistant coaches is a former standout pitcher and current collegiate softball pitching coach. My other assistant coach is a former stud middle infielder and an even studlier grade school teacher now.

In our earliest lessons, they talked to the girls about the importance of snapping through their hips when they’re delivering pitches. Knowing the attention span and interest of their audience, they explained this concept further by saying, “If you place a sticker on your follow-through hip, your catcher should be able to clearly see it after you deliver the ball. If the catcher can’t see your sticker, you didn’t follow through enough.”

I’m positive my own daughter’s commitment to improving her pitching motion grew in direct proportion to the amount of time she patiently obsessed over awaited the arrival of her glorious sticker.

Today, en route to practice, I’m thinking of all the things I could say to the team about technique, endurance, and hard work.

“I just hope it’s not Thomas the Train or anything,” her voice interrupts, breaking my concentration.

“What?” I respond.

“Or any character from that show,” she goes on. “The sticker. I just don’t want to wear Thomas the Train or anything like that.”

Am I grateful to have taken on this opportunity? You bet I am. It will remind me about what’s important in life. Growing, giggling, and getting better at something while having fun.

Written by Heidi Woodard

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Thank you, dad

June 6, 2012

Triathlon transition

I was able to complete a triathlon after months of trying to keep up with a stronger, faster coworker who selflessly trained with me. He pushed me back into shape after my child-bearing days were in my rear-view mirror.

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Before I was a mom of three, I never knew what it was like to raise a little girl. I never had to guess what mood any member of my family was in because, before I was a mom of three, we all pretty much knew how to read one another. I never realized how fun it was to paint little toe nails. It’s an experience far more enjoyable than painting my own.

Before I was a mom of two, I never thought it was possible to give my love and devotion to anyone other than my precious first-born son. Before I laid eyes on my second son, I never knew what it was like to have a cuddly boy whose sole existence, it seems, is to make sure his mom is happy. I never realized my heart could swell to the point of bursting until he showed me what it means to give without expecting anything in return.

Before I was a mom of one, I didn’t know it was possible to actually be in awe of a child. I knew parents could be proud, but to feel a sense of awe is different. Before my oldest even took in his first breath, I never knew that God could intentionally give us our children in the exact order we need them. To bless us with a confident kid who helps us along the way and serves as a role model during times when we fall short.

Before having three children, I had two dogs. One passed and left me wondering why on earth we allow ourselves to own pets only to see them die before us. The other reminds me daily why we make that choice and never regret doing so.

Before I was a mom, I was a wife. I loved my husband and took the time to show him. I soaked in his strength and felt protected. I told him I would stand by him even if we led each other astray. I put my faith in him and not once has he let me down. I’ve seen him positively guide and discipline not only our own kids, but other youth as well. I know he loves me and would do anything to make me happy.

Before my husband stole my heart, I was a student and an athlete. The minute I knew what it felt like to be recognized for being good, I never felt pressured to be bad. I was complimented for being a leader and I never took that responsibility for granted. If I can leave this earth knowing I’ve impacted someone’s life for the better, I will feel fulfilled at the end of my days.

Before I was a student and an athlete, I was a girl who was loved and supported by her family. I did not need to be surrounded by material things to know my life was rich. What I didn’t recognize then was that the collective sacrifices of so many would help shape the person I am today.

Who were you before the person you are now?