Archives For givethegameback

Knowing how great life is

January 9, 2016

How’s life been treating you?

I’m guessing your answer to that question is probably influenced by your age, whom you depend on and who depends on you, the person you see staring back at you in the mirror, the struggles you’ve endured, the triumphs you’ve enjoyed, and how you personally define happiness.

Whenever asked, my go-to answer is normally “good!” without a second thought. But, depending on different life circumstances, what actually swirls around in my brain is more like this…

I can’t believe I’m leaving home to go live somewhere else for college.*

I kinda like Ryan Woodard. Like…a lot.

Saying goodbye to my teammates after all these years, and all we’ve been through together, is the worst.

I’m going to marry him. Are we technically grownups? This is crazy.

Finally graduating school…look out real world…I’m coming for you.

These can’t actually be the ONLY houses in our price range. Are these even up to code? Will we ever find a home?

What do you mean there are no paid breaks between New Year’s and Memorial Day? That can’t be right.

It’s surreal this will be our last dinner together as just the two of us before bringing a mini version of ourselves into this world.

I have to plan my social life and sleeping schedule in three hour increments because this kid is so hungry.

I kinda want to punch Ryan every time I wake up and see him next to me sleeping ‘like a baby’. Where did that stupid phrase come from? Our baby doesn’t sleep.

Returning to work sounded good on paper. But, man, it’s hard functioning with my head in one place and my heart in another.

I can’t believe our little boy will soon have a baby brother. I can’t wait!

What on earth were we thinking?

Trying to keep up with daily demands and hold it all together.

I’m not exercising as much as I used to, but at least I’m doing something one or two nights a week.

It’s not exactly the career path I’d envisioned, but it’s stable.

How on earth do people keep their homes ‘Open House’ clean all the time?

Why isn’t there a punch card for ER visits that every mom of boys automatically receives before leaving the hospital?

One last look before we close the door for the final time on our first home. I remember the day we moved into this place and our first night sleeping in the basement on nothing but a mattress. Such a great memory.

I guess we’ll be living in an apartment while we wait for the new home to be finished. With two small children. And two dogs.

Finally found our forever home, or at least where we’ll be until our kids leave us behind.

This is a longer commute than I’m used to.

MaternalMedia is officially launched! Online therapy. Less pressure than actually writing a book. I wonder if anyone actually relates to what I ramble about?

A trifecta of kids? WHY NOT?! Flat stomachs are overrated.

The rumor is indeed true: Girls are a different breed. She has strong opinions about what she’s doing and wearing and eating and planning. As a preschooler, she looked me over from head-to-toe and asked me if today was “mismatch day” at my work. It was not. 

I will do this damn triathlon if it kills me. There’s still an athlete buried in here somewhere!

I am guaranteed uninterrupted ME time if I stick with running.

Ryan is a supportive husband, a fun dad, and a caring coach. I think I’ll keep him.

My plan is to win over a dynamic duo of radio DJs and then keep showing up in their studio until they beg me to leave.


Goodbye friends. Goodbye sanity. Goodbye running. Goodnight Moon.

Hello minivan. 

I’m tired of working on auto-pilot. Eject! Eject!

New job. New challenges. New team. Onward.

I’m going to GiveTheGameBack because I love to watch my kids play.

I’m happy.

I’m exhausted.

Dark room, blankets, foo foo drink, Netflix. These are a few of my favorite things.

I never fully appreciated my mom and dad while growing up.

I’ve got the best parents and in-laws in the world. I would be lost without them.

How blessed am I to have colleagues like these doing the work that I do? Hoping for the best as my future lies in someone else’s hands.

I have to stand on my tip toes to see into the eyes of a boy who once weighed 8 lbs, 14 oz, and whose entire body was 22.5 inches long.

We are soon going to have three different kids in three separate schools.

My dog won’t live forever. But I will love my dog forever.

* I have retained very few memories prior to 1995.


So that pretty much summed up the last 20 years with one caveat: I left out some of the bigger experiences that have helped me gain perspective and cherish each new day for the blessing that it is.

Losing my grandparents, rocking my children back to sleep in the middle of the night, getting to know the woman whose son gave my mom a second chance at life, skiing down a mountain side with my dad, traveling to tropical get-aways with my husband, saying goodbye to one of our dogs, appreciating  just how far friends are willing to go to support me and my dreams, embracing the chance to serve as a witness when my sister marries her longtime girlfriend, staring in awe as my children morph into free-thinking, uniquely incredible people…hard to adequately articulate what these moments mean to me.

I do know that, in my 39th year of life, as my dear friend Ashli so eloquently puts it:

At least I get to spend the rest of my life knowing how great life is.

Video forewarning: Ashli’s favorite thing about life is connecting with people and once you hear her words and see her smile, you will forever be changed for the better. Take time to watch this beautiful video that was originally posted on the Her View from Home Facebook page and is sponsored by Team Concepts.

The next time someone asks How life’s been treating you?, be honest. If not with them, at least with yourself.

Take the time to genuinely thank those who have made your life great. Say goodbye to people or things who don’t.

Thank you for coming along on this journey that I originally thought was just a blog…but turns out it’s been so much more for me.

Written by Heidi Woodard

Every family seems to have that one kid who gets hurt and sick more than anyone else residing under the same roof and operating within the same life circumstances. Ours is the middle child: Austin.

There is a theory that middle children, as a rule, tend to be more ignored, more often left to their own devices and more prone to injury. I’d say Austin has been left to his own “demise” throughout the bulk of his childhood.

There was the teeny weenie fracture in his hip that he sustained when he was only 4 by jumping off a kitchen counter top (I’d like to believe R. Kelly wrote his 1998 hit I Believe I Can Fly with Austin as his inspiration).

I recall the doctor saying, “This is a break we normally see in elderly people due to falls. Very strange to encounter in a child of his age.”

Next there was the left arm break he suffered when he was 8 years old – narrowly missing his growth plate – at Defy Gravity…or, as the ER staff referred to that dreadful place, their #1 referral source.

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Next there was the right wrist fracture that somehow took place under the combined watch of his grandpa and his big brother when both of the older and presumably wiser men in charge decided to launch Austin into the air for fun. Austin was 10 years old and that wonderful memory just so happened to take place on my birthday. Weeeee.

Sprinkle in roughly 1 bout of strep throat for every year of this 12-year old boy’s life and you get an idea of what we’re dealing with when it comes to doctor visits.

In fact, if there was a punch card system for injury and illness visits, I’d have earned my own personalized, dedicated parking spot by now smack dab in front of every doctor’s office.

So when Nebraska Orthopaedic Hospital approached me about writing a sponsored post for them, I was naturally inclined to help out.

The medical team at Nebraska Orthopaedic Hospital knows that, when it comes to treating emergencies, excellent care and a quick response are crucial. Their Emergency Department is staffed by Board Certified Emergency Medicine Physicians from UNMC Physicians and is open 24/7/365 to handle any situation.

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Prior to getting to know them a little better, I had assumed I would only grace their place to treat Austin’s inevitable next bone break. But it turns out they fix more than broken bones. They treat people with the flu, high fevers, stomach pain, chest pain, pneumonia, sprained ankles, strained muscles, and more.

Great service to me means more than just fixing the issue. The best service is a combo of highly skilled people who deliver on what they promise in the fastest turnaround time possible.

In May 2014, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported an average wait time of 30 minutes, and an average total time from arrival to discharge of slightly more than 120 minutes for emergency room patients. At Nebraska Orthopaedic Hospital, emergency patients wait a median of 20 minutes to see a health care team member, and are usually discharged within 90 minutes, depending on the nature of the emergency.

Speaking from experience, watching a child experience 30 less minutes of pain is something I’ll always hope and strive for in times of emergency.

Having three incredibly active children in sports has trained me to locate in advance the nearest ER just in case. This holiday season, my gift to other sports parents is to make sure you have Nebraska Orthopaedic Hospital on your radar…especially those who live in West Omaha.

  • The hospital is located on the southeast corner of 144th and West Center Road
  • Their services include, but are not limited to, walk-in emergency care, sports injuries and work related injuries.
  • Emergency Services is located on the south end of the Oakview Medical Building, in Suite 150
  • For the ER Department, call 402-609-1500
  • They are an option for after-hours care when your regular Primary Care Physician is not available and you have an emergency condition
  • Check with your insurance department to make sure they are contracted as an “in-network provider” to avoid paying higher costs
  • Visit for more information

Written by Heidi Woodard


I had the privilege of visiting my old college campus and presenting to a Feature Writing class on blogging.

It was a beautiful fall afternoon in Omaha, Nebraska. The air was crisp and led my mind to leisurely untangle itself from daily distractions.

Creighton University: Hard to articulate the impact of this place on my life.

Creighton University: Hard to articulate the impact of this place on my life.

As I walked down the same brick path I had traveled over 15 years prior to make my way from class to class, I reflected on perspective that only comes with age. A wisdom that reinforces something I had always known, but never stopped to fully appreciate. I was blessed beyond measure to have had the opportunity to walk this path, both literally and figuratively.

The brick path that has the power to take you places if you let it.

The brick path that has the power to take you places if you let it.

During my time on campus that day, I visited with both my former softball coach and my academic advisor – two people who helped me pave my way when I wasn’t yet old enough to grasp the weight that adulthood carried. Both pushed me beyond where I had falsely assumed my potential peaked.

Coach Vigness still teaching young ladies how to become better people in addition to better athletes.

Coach Vigness still teaching young ladies how to become better people in addition to better athletes.

When your academic advisor gives you such rave reviews, your first boss will forever refer to her as your "Aunt Eileen."

When your academic advisor gives you such rave reviews, your first boss will forever refer to her as your “Aunt Eileen.”

To see those two influencers after all these years and have a chance to absorb the enormous roles they played in shaping the person I am today is something I won’t soon forget.

Remembering what it was like to be young, carefree, and seemingly limitless.

Remembering what it was like to be young, carefree, and seemingly limitless.

Walking past the place where my husband and I shared our first kiss.

Walking past the place where I shared a first kiss with the love of my life.


I followed up that memorable day with an equally gratifying evening later in the week. Since launching my own GiveTheGameBack movement in January, I have watched the work of international speaker and best-selling author John O’Sullivan. His organization, Changing The Game Project, has positively impacted athletes, parents, and coaches alike, through education and training on how to accelerate positive youth development experiences, as well as critical life lessons along the way.

He wrote a book titled Changing the Game, which was released in 2013. In it, he talks about how adults are taking over today’s youth athletic experience. “We stream 10 year old baseball games to our offices, we buy $400 bats and $300 shoes, chasing the myth of scholarships and guaranteed high achievement. At a time when popular culture is promoting numerous self centered values, our children need sports more then ever to teach them about courage, discipline, commitment, and humility. Yet 70% of kids are dropping out of sports by the age of 13, most of them because sports are no longer fun!”

Let that reality absorb in. Three out of four children are done with sports before high school. As parents, do we not owe it to our children to attempt to understand why so many drop out? As a former athlete who knows how much sports impacted my life, I want my own kids’ experiences – no matter how long those experiences last – to be positive.

I do not believe having a positive experience is synonymous to having a winning record; rather, it is in the athlete’s capacity to recover from setbacks and stretch their own personal potential beyond what they believe is possible. As John so eloquently puts it, “In the real world, the most successful people are the people who are willing to fail (and try again) the most.”

John spoke to a room full of coaches and parents and delivered messaging that I know to be true, but see so many people (including myself) easily forget. According to him, elite athletes need three things to succeed, i.e., make the leap to higher levels of competitive play:

  1. They must love what they do.
  2. They must be allowed to own their experience.
  3. They must be intrinsically motivated.

Here’s a wonderful Tedx Talk featuring John speaking to a group in Bend, Oregon.

I’ve now talked to John on more than one occasion and am happy to say he is the proud owner of a GiveTheGameBack t-shirt and Steering Perspective wheel reminder.

The fastest way to change yourself is to hang out with people who are already the way you want to be. -Reid Hoffman, Founder of LinkedIn


It’s been uplifting to hang out with so many great people as of late, men and women who have had positive impacts on me and countless others.Thank you for hanging out with me, by taking time out of your day to read these words. Have a wonderful week ahead and never forget about those in our world who are suffering. May we never take for granted how lucky we are to live in a country where we can share our thoughts freely.

Written by Heidi Woodard