Raw Beginnings

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Night before Crazy Hair Day at Dale & Eli’s school

Growing up, I had the opportunity to play in a variety of organized sports whether in city league, high school, and even church.  Some of my favorite games were those of the disorganized variety in the military. I never knew the meaning of pain until I tried playing forward in a soccer game with a group of U.S. Army fighting machines.

I have so many great memories from playing sports of one kind or another.  Little compares to the accomplished way you feel after a night of football practice on the offensive line, the adrenaline you get after scoring multiple three pointers near the end of your basketball game, or the pure awesomeness of swimming any day of the week.

Being that they are competitive in nature, there are also many disappointments that come along with playing sports.  My first year in basketball, we didn’t win a single game.  In my first season of little league baseball, I had to step up to the plate after the pitcher had beaned the previous three guys in a row to… guess what…get beaned myself!!  Who saw that coming?!  Shouldn’t it be against the rules to keep the pitcher on the mound after he beaned the second guy?  In junior high football, I got my ankle injured so badly by my own teammate that I was unable to play or even practice beyond the first game.  Being on crutches for some time, I was embarrassed to even wear my jersey to school on game days as the proud team tradition dictated.  But I did it anyway.  One of the important things you learn from playing sports is dealing with defeat and other small failures.

For years I’ve looked forward to the day when I could have children of my own and watch them play sports.  I know that parents can’t teach their kids everything they need to know in life merely by giving them verbal tutorials.  Much of a growing person’s knowledge comes from sweaty, nervous, hands on experience, and what better way to provide that than giving them the chance to play in some low-stakes athletic competition?  Many athletic professionals and psychologists testify to the many benefits kids are given if they have the chance to play on athletic teams.  The following link lists the top ten ways playing in sports can help your child develop.  Top 10 Health Benefits of Youth Sports My wife and I knew that this winter was going to be the year we would start the boys playing something.

We are now in the second week of Jr. Jazz (the city league of Utah) basketball with our 7 and 9-year old sons.  I’ve tried my best to prepare them for what’s to come, hoping they’ll be more successful than I was, but I’ve got to say, it’s looking pretty ugly to watch the both of them and their teams try to figure out how to play together.  One boy got the ball slammed down right in his head at his first game.  The other took a pass to the gut that was thrown from only five feet away with the force required to knock down someone his size from the other side of the court.

Watching this first round of basketball play out, I was regretful for having not prepared them more.  My dad and I did run a few drills with them previously.  For the last several weeks I’ve been giving them all the advice I had from my few years of basketball playing.  We’re really starting from scratch here.  These kids are still figuring out how to keep their shoes tied.  But after some reflection, they are starting with this sport at a younger age, and will therefore have more time to perfect their abilities.

I’ve realized I can help them little by little as time goes on, but they’re really not going to be that good at first, why?  Because they are new to basketball, and just like in the professional world, everyone has to be new sometime.  They will have to learn much the hard way, through pushing against other teams.

Why am I writing a blog post about this?  Because suddenly it hit me I’m entirely new to something as well, and working at it equally as awkwardly.  I did take an English class in college once and actually passed. Although my writing is course, one of my greatest challenges in blogging is learning to use the equipment. I’m reminded of my first days on the summer league swim team many years ago.  I had no clue I was going to have to wear a speedo, and didn’t think of swim goggles.  It made swimming all those laps quite awkward that day.  Then when I showed up to the next practice, I had the needed gear, but wearing a speedo for the first time, I truly felt as if I was wearing nothing at all, and it took some getting used to.  Over time, I learned to thoroughly enjoy swimming regardless of the fact that I wasn’t good enough to be a real competitor.  Hopefully I don’t have too much further to go before I can enjoy blogging the same way.

This is being published on a Friday, a day which no one wants to admit they were on the internet.  However, I’d like to put myself out there today and say I’m open to suggestions.  If you have anything you’d like to see me post about, let me know.  I’m open to new ideas.  I haven’t nailed down a structure or theme for this blog, although I’ve thought it would be funny if one day it could be a reflection of the silly children’s variety shows (Stanley Spedowsky’s Club House from “UHF”, Pee Wee’s Playhouse, The Bozo Show) of the 70’s and 80’s.  Maybe it doesn’t need a theme.  Maybe I should just be happy with it being whatever I need to write twice a week, and not worry if anyone’s actually reading it…This could be entirely experimental, a test facility to be the birthplace of another, more desirable piece of reading.

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