Archives For Just for Fun

Let me be the first to admit, I’ve learned to tame my competitive nature over the years and make the sporting experience more about my kids than myself. I like to say I’m a work in progress.

I’ve recounted My Moment on GiveTheGameBack. I remember that critical point in time when I realized I need to reevaluate why I was at the ball field supporting my child and have subsequently changed my mentality and approach to the GAME.

However, prior to that moment, there was an episode when I behaved less than ideally in front of my children. I think it’s important to explain (not justify) my past behavior to let you know that I, like everyone, learn from my mistakes. For those who refuse to admit ever crossing the line at a youth sporting competition in the name of your budding athlete, I counter with two thoughts: 1. I bow down to you and your self-control and 2. I don’t believe you. (not even for a second)

There we were, the Woodard family, back in fall ball several years ago: me, my husband, and our three children.

Allow me to set the stage. The “regular season” for baseball in the Midwest runs from late April to early July. Fall ball, in terms of scheduled games, lasts half the total duration but feels like an eternity to suffer through. The number of teams competing is less, the quality of competition isn’t always as great, and the double-headers that typically round off an otherwise restful weekend are grueling.

OK, I fully admit I am already making excuses, but bear with me.

My oldest was only 10 at the time. Ten-year-old boys can best be described as fourth grade, 4-ft somethings, with less than laser-like focus. While they all generally have an interest in winning, the majority of them compete in fall ball to hang out with their buddies. (Coaches will tell you it’s because the boys want to stay active and improve their game in the off season.)

My son’s team was down by at least a half dozen runs and, in 10-year old baseball…especially fall ball, that’s a deep valley out of which to climb. It was late in the game so they ran the risk of losing by the “mercy rule” (which they might as well rename the “parental sanity rule”). Definition of the “mercy rule”: Once a team is up by 8 runs after 5 complete innings over their competition, the game is automatically over.

My son’s teammate managed to make it to second base…probably on a wild pitch, or just a normal pitch since few 10-year old catchers are strong enough to throw out a runner stealing second base.

It was very late in the game and the chances of my kid’s team mounting a comeback were slimmer than Kim Kardashian going a full day without snapping a selfie. Not high. You get the picture.

Low and behold, I hear the opposing team’s coach yell out instructions and then see the pitcher throw to the short stop at second base in an attempted pickoff play. When the pickoff attempt didn’t work, instead of tossing the ball back to the pitcher, the short stop walks it to the mound.

I instantly knew what was happening. The ol’ hidden ball trick. I knew what was going down because I’ve pulled that same play in my college alumni game against the current players.

If you’ve never seen the hidden ball trick, watch the YouTube clip below.

My son’s teammate assumes the pitcher has the ball, takes his normal leadoff, and falls for the play (because he’s 10!) as the opposing team’s short stop tags him out, much to the amusement of their coach.

Here’s a confession: If I was that kid at shortstop (or anyone else on that opposing team), I would have thought that was the greatest trick play ever.

Because I was not that 10-year old shortstop and was instead the mom of one of the boys getting their butts kicked by a team coached by a dad who cared more about trick plays than teachable moments, I didn’t find it quite as amusing. And I let him know about it. I think my exact less-than-mature-and-not-very-thought-out words were something like this:

GOOD JOB, COACH! WAY TO PERFECT THE HIDDEN BALL TRICK! YOU MUST BE SO PROUD!

(Lame, I know. But I’ve never been the best at articulating anger.)

If your team is only winning by one or two runs and it’s the championship game, you could probably make me understand your rationale (even if I don’t agree with it). When you are about to run-rule another team, I don’t buy your excuse.

Not to be outdone by a loud-mouthed mom, the coach in turn had one of his players steal home in mid-pitch when they were up to bat next.

I just shook my head and thought to myself, “What a (insert male body part) move.”

But here’s the thing, I was no better than that coach that day. I ran my mouth from the stands and it didn’t make the situation any better. Luckily, my son never heard what I yelled, but that didn’t make me feel any less foolish in hindsight

Their team still lost. My son wouldn’t have cared that much about the game’s outcome because he’d already been competing in sports (even at the age of 10) for a few years and he learned that, in sports and life, you win some and you lose some.

If I ran into that same coach today, I would freely admit to being as crazy competitive as he is, and I would hope we would share a laugh together. I’d tell him that he should check out what I’m trying to do on GiveTheGameBack.

And when he’d be pulling up the website on his phone, I’d sucker punch him when he wasn’t looking and yell out TRICK PLAY! as he was attempting to regain his breath. Kidding…I would only contemplate doing that. I am working on thinking before I act these days.

Written by Heidi Woodard

As I laid in bed earlier this morning with my daughter by my side, buried as deeply down under my blanket as the fallen tree outside my bedroom window was blanketed in snow, I looked up from my phone to see her reading to herself.

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And this made me happy.

Refocusing my attention back to glowing screen staring back at me, I devoted the next 3.5 minutes of my day to watching this video.

And this made me hang my head in shame and put down my phone.

Later in the day, my little girl asked me to complete an “assignment sheet,” one that I was told needed to incorporate both pictures and words in order to describe her.

So I drew this beautiful rendition of her on the tiny assignment sheet she created for me.

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And this made us both giggle and me smile with pride.

She then told me it was my turn to create an assignment sheet for her. Same rules applied. She would combine words and pictures to describe me.

She meticulously printed her name and description sentence on the lines I created, drew her image in the square provided, then she handed everything back to me wearing a smirk on her face.

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This made me hang my head in shame (again). Notice the laptop and cell phone, in particular.

For the record, we did go to Target today. Miss Tell-it-like-it-is got a new pair of shoes and a couple more books to add to her Dr. Seuss library.

We plan to read those books together, like we do NEARLY EVERY SINGLE NIGHT snuggled under the same blanket. Where I will sit. Logged off.

Has your kid shamed you lately?

Written by Heidi Woodard

Someone recently gave me an excellent blog idea: Find a movie that I loved when I was around my own kids’ age and document their reaction as we watch it together in present day. The movie I selected was the 1990 holiday family classic, Home Alone.

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‎Macaulay Culkin was 9 years old when he appeared as little Kevin McCallister in the holiday cult classic, Home Alone.

My oldest son is 12, my middle son is 11, and their little sister is 6. Technically, I was older than them when Home Alone was released, but I figure Macauley Culkin was about their age when he starred in this film so it passed the test – pursuant to my imaginary rules that I feel the need to justify for some dumb reason.

The following is a summary of our (mine and my children’s) combined streams of consciousness as we watched the movie together.

If you’ve never seen it…seriously, who are you?…the basic plot of this movie is that Culkin’s character, Kevin McCallister, has a large family and often feels like he’s either left out or being judged unfairly. He wishes they would all just disappear. The family leaves on a vacation to France for the holidays thinking that Kevin is with them, but realize mid-flight that they accidentally left him behind. Kevin has to defend his home against burglars while they are away. Hilarity ensues.

Not even 10 minutes in, I realize there are a lot of inappropriate words spoken that I never questioned as a child, which makes me believe I was either completely clueless as to what I was hearing back then or had become completely immune to their effect after absorbing them spoken so often at home. (My parents got their first EVER computer last year and started following my blog so I like to add in little fabrications here and there just to freak them out.)

There’s nothing quite like your daughter asking you what that falling object is (at the 1:07 mark in the clip below) to make you feel like an utter failure in the domestic duties department. Me: “That’s called an iron, sweetie. We have one…somewhere.”

I remember that seeing a tarantula crawl on burglar Marv’s head was the only thing that really made me cringe when I was a kid. Not the possibility that I could be left alone, or the fact that burglars could terrorize me, or that a boy my age had a Playboy magazine in his treasure chest.

My boys and I talked about all of the highly unlikely scenarios we were watching. How could NO ONE in a house of 20+ people wake up if they needed to leave for the airport at 8 a.m.? EIGHT A.M.?! There’s always at least one annoying morning person who is on their second cup of coffee or who has run their second mile by then. And then, when they did all wake up in a total frenzie running around barking orders at each other, little Kevin was able to sleep soundly through that mayhem in an attic?

Then the dysfunctional family arrives at the airport and runs right past the ticket lady who happily catches their boarding passes as they fling them at her en route to their seats? Not a single I.D. check? These people seem completely safe to board the aircraft I guess.

And what is UP with Uncle Frank McCallister? Is he not the biggest another-word-for-donkey on the planet or what?

I’m a realistic woman. I know my kids are far from perfect and are bound to do some pretty regrettable things throughout their lifetimes. But if any of my relatives were to snap at any one of my children like Uncle Frank yelled at Kevin, well, I’d be hard pressed not to retaliate with a few counter-insults of my own.

I NEVER LIKED YOUR JELLO MOLD OR YOUR HUSBAND, MARY!

My oldest son dryly pointed out that it took roughly 22 minutes from the time Kevin called 911 until the police actually arrived to help out. I hadn’t even noticed because I was too frustrated with the fact that Kevin refused to recruit his creepy old man neighbor for back-up. I mean, COME ON KEVIN, the guy admitted to having anger management issues which clearly resulted in him losing touch with his son and grandchildren. BRING THAT SHOVEL-WIELDING-DIRTY-HAIRY-WANNABE over to your house for protection!

Part of me was tempted to show my kids a picture of present day Macaulay Culkin, but I figured that might be as traumatic and disheartening as the whole Santa thing. Some secrets are better left untold. (OK that was mean…heaven knows I don’t look half as cute as I did when I was 9. Sorry, Mac.)

When it was all said and done, I could tell by the smiles on my kids’ faces that they enjoyed the movie as much today as I did back in 1990. I encourage you to try this little experiment with your own kids, nieces/nephews, or other little humans and report back in the comments.

Written by Heidi Woodard