Sunday, January 31, 2010

Volume VI, issue i January 2010


Eating Family Style at Restaurant d'Evegnee means Marie's joyful romp from plate to plate to scavenge the leftovers of her whole family with style. Whether it's her second helping or her seventeenth, she positively exudes yummy sounds after savoring each bite. The rise and fall of her feminine "MmmmMMM!" consistently and tirelessly sounds as if she's taking the first and best bite of her life.

In this video, she had already finished her own food and picked at mine and had just helped herself to Eve's plate just to round out her caloric binge. She had polished off the salsa and was trying bites of Enchilada with such cheer that we had to record her sounds of satisfaction. Notice her dinner attire isn't exactly fancy or even office casual. We've decided that leaving her in "happily naked couture" allows us to easily hose her off at the end of her meal.

I Hoop They Call Me on a Mission : Battle of the Brothers

The first real game of the 2010 Basketball Season wasn't in some mammoth arena in a big city. It was in Rexburg, Idaho. The players were tiny but tough. What they lacked in skill they made up for in pure charisma. The game took place in the Madison Junior High Gym on January 9th where two mini-titans met. Ethan and Caleb's city league teams collided in a war of wills, wit, and whoever could dribble the ball more than two consecutive bounces without hitting their own foot.

When we discovered their teams were playing each other, my maternal instincts kicked in and I was just like Mother Voltaggio during the finale of Top Chef 2009 (major guilty pleasure alert). The clock (stopwatch around someone's neck) tick-tocked the first seconds of the match and I saw Ethan hover over Caleb with a menacing snarl, leaning in to taunt him. I later asked Ethan what he had said to Caleb, and he re-enacted the moment for me as he dramatically growled, "You're goin' d-o-o-own!" Yeah. That's pretty much what I had thought. His first trash-talk. I'm, sniff, so proud.

Ethan was so intent on stopping Caleb from not only scoring, but dribbling or passing or walking or participating in any form, that he played defense even when he was on offense. He waved his arms monkey-like in front of Caleb's face as his own team took the ball down the court and continued to guard Caleb as his team-mates tried to pass him the ball, regardless of our screams to him that his team had the ball. Because they rotate players throughout the game, this moment only lasted mere minutes, but Caleb still says to me, "Mom, remember when my team battled Ethan's team?" Battled? I told you it was intense!

I Hoop They Call Me on a Mission (Part Two): Flying in Coach

I enthusiastically signed Eric up to coach Holden's team and was met with a lot more resistance than I had expected ( as in eye-rolling, face grabbing, polysyllabic grunting resistance). After interacting with his tweeny troops in practice and a couple of games Eric felt more comfortable, especially with Holden by his side, smiling proudly up at him and calling him "Coach." ("Sure thing, Coach!" "Whatever you say, Coach!" "Good job, Coach!")

Last Saturday, our line-up of three basketball games, a Primary Activity, and a Birthday Party meant I didn't get to attend Holden's game. I played Super-Taxi-Mom in-between activities and met Eric and Holden after their game so we could whisk Eric away to substitute coach Caleb's game that started about thirty seconds after Holden's ended half-way across town. (Yes. I know we live in a small town! But it was still stressful, okay?)

When we screeched into the parking lot, Eric and Holden were still inside the gym, so I ran in to see if the game was over. I could hear the rustling of coats and excited whispers so I knew the game had just ended. I peeked in and saw the scoreboard blazing with finality: 25 to 26. I tried to read Eric's body language to guess if our team had won or lost. Oblivious to me or the rest of the crowd, he hop-skipped backward in a circle, smiling as he called his team over to him and patting their backs as they made a huddled circle around him. He knelt on one knee and pep-talked some final words of praise, his face alight with a moment of teaching. The love-caused lump in my throat swelled and I silly-grinned my way back to the car to wait. About a minute later, Holden and Eric jumped into the car and Eric said, "That. . . was fun." As we zoomed over to Caleb's game, Eric told me that they had lost. "Lost?" I said in shock, "But you were absolutely giddy at the end of the game. I don't understand."

Eric explained to me that at the end of the first half, they had been down by a dismal fifteen points. That teeth-clenching, stomach dropping margin was bringing out their worst. Their best players enjoy shooting. . . a lot. And it doesn't matter where they are on the court. They could be fifty feet away from the basket with nobody standing between them and a lay-up and they'll still launch that poor destined-for-air ball like a discus rather than simply choosing an easy shot.

During half-time, he had reminded them of the fundamentals he had drilled into their heads in practice--take the best shot and pass the ball if you don't have a good shot.

The first part of that second half, they passed the ball and took careful shots and played like a team. They had a 12-o run that left Eric literally on his knees on the court (until he looked around, brushed off his knees and calmly stood up as if nothing had happened).

In Eric's huddled post-game pep-talk, he reminded his team that, "You ARE that 12-0 run. That's who you really are and that's what counts. That final score doesn't reflect who you guys are. You ARE that 12-0 run." That old cliche about it not really mattering if you win or lose is missing something. It's not just how you play the game. It's how you see it. And how you see yourself.

Yesterday a certain team I know won their game by a whopping twenty-one points. (They could have had a complete blow-out but Eric took out some of his star players during the second half because of his polite, Eastern upbringing.) After the game, he said to his troops "See? You were that 12-0 streak today. That's who you are."

Interestingly enough, our "Coach's" euphoria after winning looked a whole lot like the euphoria after losing but having a 12-0 streak.

Show n' So-Telling

It was Eve's turn to bring the "Show n' Tell Bag" to Kindergarten on Friday. As she slowly rummaged through every room in the house on Thursday, I could tell she was plotting out the most impressive cargo to tote with her to school. I looked forward to seeing her accumulation of the usual toys and trinkets. Later, she showed me the pile of birthday party catalogs she was planning on showing to her class. Rather than any of her menagerie of dolls, toys, and games, she wanted to show-off her display of . . . party catalogs. Where in the world did she learn such strange and interesting (and of course FABULOUS!) behavior?


Tiffany said...

Um... ya outdid yourself again, chica! Love, the pics, love the video, love the post! What's not to ADORE about a blog that can unabashedly use "polysyllabic"?

You are heavenly!

Joseph and Mary + Six said...

I actually felt like I was there with your family at the game. Your husband is a great coach and daddy (for coaching!). I had to laugh that Eve is a party planner just like her mama!! I just love your family!!

Mrs. Demon said...

A good party planner is hard to find! You go EVE and don't let anybody stop you!

(Natalie Collins)

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