Archives For Sports

Last Christmas, my husband and I decided to bite the bullet and purchase an in-ground basketball hoop for our three children as well as their neighborhood friends.

Unbeknownst to them, I like to call it my hostage hoop.

I call it that because it is easy for me to see that the years of them all being safe and sound hanging out in our driveway are slipping by at a painful pace. They don’t realize nor do they care that I consider this space, this hoop, their one true play zone where I am still able to watch over and protect them.

I am holding their childhoods hostage as long as I can.

The thump, thump, thump of their dribbling and the swish, clank, clank, CLANK, swish of their shots provide the music – a symphony of sorts – for our family’s summer playlist.

Yes, there are occasional (always) fights…fouls not being called, points not being tallied up correctly, an errant elbow thrown here or there…but mainly it’s an activity, from a shrinking pool of activities they share in common despite their ages, that they gladly do together. And that makes me both happy and sad.

I wonder what it will be like when my husband and I look out at that same driveway and only see the hoop staring back at us? When the sounds of dribbling, laughter, arguments, and celebrations are silenced?

For now, I don’t want to look that far ahead. Rather, I will look back and cherish all of the beautiful memories and blessings that have been bestowed upon us over the years.

We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing. – George Bernard Shaw

 

hoop dreams

The hostage hoop.

basketball hoop installation.jpg

Both boys helped in the installation process, not necessarily willingly.

Hoop dreams 2

There is little struggle greater in life than a boy trying to shoot a layup against his much taller brother.

Hoop dreams 3.jpg

Taking full advantage of as many daylight hours as possible.

Owen and Jaycee

Little sister defending the crossover.

Owen and Ryan 2.jpg

Back when they didn’t mind showing public affection to one another.

mom and Owen

Back when I realized I was no longer looking down at him when we spoke.

Owen and Ryan

Officially taller than dad. 8th grade year.

Owen bball Halloween 2015

Keep on dreaming big, kid.

Owen Austin baseball

Yes, I know I jumped from basketball to baseball. But how did these little guys grow up so fast? I remember when they only needed their shoes to be tied and a bag of Big League Chew to guarantee a good day at the ballpark.

Owen Austin Heidi

Now here we are…zipping through childhood at warp speed.

Austin baseball catcher

The time he was so excited to try on catcher’s gear.

Jaycee softball catcher

The time she was so excited to try on catcher’s gear.

football2

The reason why little sister’s future boyfriends better watch out.

Owen Austin Jaycee

Times were a little crazier when they were small, but ironically, looking back, they also seemed slower.

all kids 2

It’s hard these days to keep up…and that’s not for a lack of trying.

Owen Austin Ryan

How lucky they are to have a great dad guiding them on their life’s path. How lucky their dad is to have them as his sons.

Owen Austin Ryan 3

The three Atlanta Braves fans.

Written by Heidi Woodard

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Sharing Wisdom Series4

If you’d like to read the first three installments of this series, you can find those herehere, and here.

For my fourth and final installment, allow me to introduce you to Drake University‘s Head Women’s Volleyball Coach, Darrin McBroom.

Darrin McBroom

Darrin McBroom, Head Women’s Volleyball Coach at Drake University

 

Darrin is unlike any other coach I’ve featured, in that, he was nominated by a former player. She thought he deserved to be recognized for the profound effect he had on her and her love of the game. There’s something to be said about a coach who impacts his team so much that his legacy endures long after the individual athlete’s playing days are done.

Here’s what Darrin’s former player, Erin, had to say about him.

Message: I played volleyball in high school and was a decent player but I definitely did not love the sport. I didn’t want to rack up student loans so I looked into playing in college. I committed to Iowa Western and played for Darrin McBroom. He made me fall in love with the sport and helped me go on to play for an NCAA Division I program. I played many sports growing up and had many coaches, but he is by far the best coach I have ever had. He always had motivational stories to tell that related to parts of the game and always respected his players. He now coaches at Drake University and I thought he’d be a great coach for you to interview.

I believe it’s important for coaches to know that the time, effort, and personal sacrifice they put into developing their players – everything they do day in and day out – does make a difference. Not only does the approach and dedication Darrin applies to coaching result in winning programs; more notably, he’s left lasting impressions on the athletes who have played for him over the years.

Below are three questions I asked Darrin to answer and his corresponding responses.

Q1: You are the first coach to be nominated for inclusion in this series. Your ex-player who nominated you credits you for helping her fall in love with the sport of volleyball. How do you manage coaching different players who each possess not only different skill sets but also different levels of engagement with the game?

Darrin’s Response: Well, the one commonality that all of my players have had is a love for volleyball and for competition. While at Iowa Western, I coached players from China, Brazil, Puerto Rica, Russia, Ukraine, Dominica, Canada, and the U.S. The one thing they all had in common is that they loved to play the game.

For myself, I walked away from a full-time teaching career…giving up summers off, tenure, and higher pay…to become a full-time coach at Iowa Western because I loved the game and I loved being a part of these teams and the lives of these kids.

I always wanted each season to be one of the greatest experiences that they had ever had playing volleyball and I knew if they were having a great experience, then they would give the best they had to me and the program. Integral to that experience was striving for great achievement on the court (individually and as a team), developing life-long friendships, and creating life-long memories. These teams were always like a family to me and I encouraged that kind relationship among them.

Q2: What’s something that’s kept you up at night over the last two decades coaching volleyball (meaning, is there something you try to control but seems to be uncontrollable)?

Darrin’s Response: Although people talk about the challenges of working with young people, that is all I have ever done and all I know. While I certainly have agonized over some of the poor choices some of my athletes have made in their personal lives and academically, it is not the athletes that have kept me up at night.

More often than not, it is the adults whom I work with who have created the most challenges over the years. The young people have not really changed that much; it is the adults who have changed.

Q3: Do you or members of your coaching staff keep an eye on the social media accounts of both existing and potential student-athletes? If so, what advice would you give to young adults about their digital profiles?

Darrin’s Response: As a general rule, I and my staff do not specifically monitor our athletes’ online profiles or those of incoming athletes. However, we have from time to time become aware of postings or statements that they make.

We take the time to make sure that these young women understand that what they put out on the internet is a representation of more than just themselves, but also the University, our program, and certainly all of their teammates. Therefore we advise them to be very judicious about what they put out there, especially since it cannot be taken back.

I would recommend that all young people be very careful and deliberate about the creation of their of their digital profiles as I do not think they realize the impact that one inadvertent comment or photo can have on their future.

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Darrin is entering his fourth season at the helm of the NCAA Division I Drake Bulldog volleyball program, which competes in the Missouri Valley Conference. Prior to joining Drake, he spent eight seasons in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) where he compiled an overall record of 322-58, earning a winning percentage of 85 percent, to rank him among top 10 active coaches nationally across all NJCAA divisions. Read his complete coaching bio here.

The Sharing Wisdom: A Series of Coaching Perspectives is written by Heidi Woodard.

“Even children get older and I’m getting older too.” – Stevie Nicks, Landslide

People, we are ALL getting older. No matter where you’re currently at in your life – in your prime, or struggling to find purpose, or on a journey of self-discovery, or feeling overwhelmed, or daydreaming, or suffering, or goal setting, or swimming in circles, or soaking in the sunrise and sunset – I think it’s critical to remember that this time too shall pass.

None of us can escape the realization that this life too shall pass.

The years between when a child first picks up a ball out of curiosity to the time when he makes his last play in competition, that moment too shall pass.

So why do we, as adults, overly complicate the experience?

hour glass memories

I believe that a youth athlete’s hour glass life should look something like this. For the record, I’m defining “youth” as anywhere between 4-12 years old.

I realize many of you are in awe right now at my mad graphic design skills. Hopefully the point still comes across.

There should definitely be a cross (or some representation of a belief bigger than them), a lot of books, some play things, several musical instruments, drawing or writing utensils, and other forms of self-expression in there too.

I suppose there would also be more technological gadgets and gaming devices than I can even name…half of which will be considered new-to-market before I even finish this post.

What shouldn’t be included in a youth athlete’s hour glass life are crazy adults, unrealistic expectations, feelings of inadequacy, screaming parents, overwhelming pressure, or recruiters.

Leave that for high school.

I only half kid about that last statement based on what I’ve witnessed from the stands.

Parents, I implore you. This time too shall pass. How do you want them to remember it?

As I state on GiveTheGameBack.com, kids must learn how to win graciously and lose humbly. Adults must learn how to level set expectations. Because, at the end of their playing days, every athlete should feel pride in what they’ve accomplished, not shame for what never was.

Written by Heidi Woodard