Monday, March 28, 2011

coach spann story #1

I've been a coach's wife for over 10 years. I've sat through freezing temperatures and blistering heat. I've consumed enough sunflower seeds and nachos to feed an army. I've endured more sunburns than is advised by my physician. I've cheered and I've cried over both victories and losses. I've cringed and laughed at my husband, his team, other fans.

I've been a player's mom for over 6 years. All of the above applies. Except that I have sat with my stomach in knots, cried tears of joy & pride, and cheered until my voice went hoarse because it was my baby on the field.

I've also complained. A lot. Waaay too much, actually. I've complained that practices are too long and too hot. I've complained that the coach is unfair, unknowledgeable, unkind.

This year, my chief complaint was that Claire's coach, while very nice... had never coached before. Not the worst thing in the world. We had lived through that before. But, as nice as her coach was, she knew nothing about the game of softball.

Long story short, she had no idea what she was getting herself into. She had eagerly said "yes" when asked if she was interested in helping, not realizing that she had stepped into the fast & furious world of youth softball in the south!

After hearing that she was looking for a replacement, and fearing that Claire wouldn't have a team to play on, I offered to take over. I am still wondering what the heck I was thinking.

We've had a week of practices... it has felt like a month! We have our opening tournament this weekend. Kelly was my assistant coach, but in another exciting turn of events, he has his own team to worry about! He would have been pretty scarce even as an assistant, as they are now playing district games, but as the head coach? Fuhgettaboutit! We are thrilled, but a bit overwhelmed to say the least.

So now, our plan is: Kelly will coach me, and I will coach the girls. I'll let you know how it goes! On the bright side, I don't have too much to complain about, right?

what's the buzz?

Disclaimer: This post contains a lot of information that you may find... well, boring. This blog also serves as a family scrapbook of sorts, so much of this info is for me. Bear with me :).

I mentioned briefly that Claire was on her school's Quiz Bowl team. She tried out (took a test) and made the team back in January. They had a few practice meets after school, but this past weekend was the end-all-be-all Quiz Bowl tournament.

If you're scratching your head and making this face:

,  I'll share a few details:

Our school has 2 teams of 6 students, made up of 3 fourth graders and 3 fifth graders. Team A & Team B (Claire was on Team A). In a meet or tournament, a Reader asks question in a category (history, sports, grammar, geography, etc) and the kids buzz in, old-school gameshow style. There are 4 rounds in each game, each round had a different format. 4 students play at a time, with subs switching in and out each round. (Get it, got it, good!)

Both of our teams had gone undefeated in the practice meets, with Team B tying against another school (hey, that still counts as undefeated!). Saturday morning, just after 8am, we journeyed to a local elementary school and waited for the competition to beign. Claire was nervous & excited, as was everyone! Along with the 4/5 grade teams, there were also 6th grade teams competing against each other, as well as 7/8 grade teams. (Which equals hundreds of stinky kids in a hot, sweaty gym, waiting to be dismissed to their assigned classrooms!)

It was a double elimination tournament which meant that we were in for a long day... A very long day. I'll spare you the details (I know, I know, you're dying inside) but after 8 hours of quizzing, Claire's team made it to the championship round! Team B went undefeated all day and secured a spot in the final round in the early afternoon. Claire's team, on the other hand, lost their 3rd game of the day, which sent them to the loser's bracket. After pulling themselves out by winning 3 more games, had finally made it to the final game too!

Really, you couldn't ask for a better scenario! We have a fantastic Quiz Bowl coach (who happens to be a friend and Claire's Social Studies teacher) who is wonderful. To have both of our teams in the final round, made us winners all around. We were thrilled! ...and incredibly tired. By this time, it was after 4pm, and we arrived at 8:30am. Our lunch consisted of soda, chips and candy, courtesy of the concession stand and my head was pounding. Quiz Bowl is intense. No, really!

We waited a long time for our Reader to arrive with the questions, while our kids & parents hung around in an empty hallway. All the other schools had left after being defeated. We finally began, and everyone was relieved that we had secured 1st and 2nd place and would be going home soon. The room was relaxed, instead of the tension-filled environment that usually exists between 2 rival schools. But in a twist of events, Team A, beat Team B in the championship round. Since it was a double-elimination event, Team B needed to lose twice in order to be knocked out of first place. So... we played a second game! (My head was THROBBING by this point.) Team B came out victorious in the end. But after 8 games and 9 hours of quizzing, we were happy for all of us, and really, really happy that our day had ended.

We took pictures with the giant trophies and our cheers echoed through the deserted hallways. My heart swelled throughout the day as I listened to Claire buzz in and give answers like: "the war of 1812", "contractions", "Paris!", and many others. All that knowledge, all that information, it finally had an outlet!

We celebrated with steaks at Trail Boss. We caught up with Kelly & Nolan to hear the details of Kelly & the Chiefs first district game. Oh yeah, he's now the head coach, but that's another post...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

coach spann x2

As of 12:39 pm today, I am Claire's softball coach. It's a long story, and one I'll share soon, just not tonight. All I ask... pray for me! I'm gonna need it!

where have i been lately?

Let me share a little story, just to give a touch of insight...

In the hustle and bustle of our outrageously busy life now that softball and baseball season have begun, I have 2 goals: 1 - to be organized, using my handy-dandy purse-sized calendar, and 2 - to make sure that every supper does NOT include gatorade, nachos and sour straws from one of any number of concession stands.

In keeping with these goals, I've been planning my meals (thanks to e-mealz) and using the crock-pot. Yesterday, Claire had a Quiz Bowl meet (more on that later) after school and Nolan was at baseball practice with Kelly. Earlier that morning, I had half-defrosted 3 pounds of southern-style pork ribs and put them in our crock-pot. I put them on low, knowing they'd cook slowly all day to perfection. I was happy knowing that the boys would come home, pour in some bbq sauce and 30 minutes later would be enjoying a hearty 'man meal' before Nolan's baseball scrimmage.

Sadly, i got a call from Kelly at about 5:30, stating that the crock-pot was on, but it wasn't... plugged in. Ah! Mom/wife FAIL! I apologized (Kelly was really looking forward to those ribs - he had a rough day) and told him to go ahead and plug it in. It would cook all evening and at least we could eat them the next day.

A few hours later, we all made it home and the ribs were nearly done. I decided to add the sauce early and crank it up to high for just a bit, to make sure they were done before we went to bed. Done and done! I had salvaged the ribs and dinner would be covered for the next day. Yes!

This morning, as my mind was drifting back and forth between blissful dreamland and harsh reality, I heard Kelly say... "Well. I'm pretty sure the ribs are done." I was confused. Was something wrong with his ribs? Had be been hit by a ball again? Wait. Ribs. Dinner. Crock pot. Then he said, "I got up at 4am and turned off the crock pot."

Oops. Double FAIL.

My ceramic crock pot is STILL soaking in the sink and we've lit candles for days. That's where I'm at these days. Exhausted, but still smiling. How about you?