Mario’s b-ball tourney

Mario can be intense. I think he got both my competitive nature and Jon’s desire to win, which creates a firestorm of emotion when he does not do as well he likes. 

He had tournaments all weekend for basketball. When we worked at the tournament, he was outside shooting hoops. At times, he was swishing them. At other times, he couldn’t shoot a basket to save his life. Unfortunately, the latter occurred right before we were leaving for his next tournament game. We got in the car upset as could be – slamming the car door as he plopped in his seat. Jon and I were frustrated at his attitude, and then proceeded to get irritated with one another about something stupid. We all sat in the car on the way to the tournament in cold stone silence. About 15 minutes into the trip, Mario whispered “A my name is Alan, my wife’s name is Addie…” 

Whenever it’s quiet in the car or I want the kids to stop looking at their tablets, I tell them we are going to play the alphabet game. They usually roll their eyes but go along with me. I wanted to keep the frown on my face when Mario spoke up with “A my name is” but I couldn’t. I immediately smiled, and was touched that he would break free from his anger and engage with us. It was quite impressive that the nine-year old could speak up but the 45 year-olds could not….

We arrived at the tournament in good spirits. He had a possibility of three games – all one and out. We thought it was a long shot that his team would advance since they didn’t have the best record but low and behold, they won the first game! Ri recorded it for the coach while rooting on her brother. Mario had to attend her tournament games so Maria was forced to attend his.


The boys got icees after their game. They waited around for another hour before their next game, wrestling around and being insane nine-year-old boys. We all questioned again whether we’d get through the second game or not. But these boys believed in themselves, and sure enough they won. Mario played another great game getting a couple of shots and playing magnificent defense. I think my talk earlier in the morning helped. I talked with him about trying to get his head out of the game. This seems like an oxymoron but I’ve been reading a book called “The inner game of tennis.” Jackson recommended it to me and said that it helped him a lot with his music. I immediately thought of Mario when I began to read it. He gets very upset with himself when he makes a poor shot or let’s an opponent get a shot on him and then he continues to do poorly because he is so upset. The book tries to help you understand that you need to simply play the game – get your head out of the judgment of whether you are playing good or bad – and just play. It also talks about letting go of the words “good” and “bad” and just letting the experience be what it is while moving onto the next one.  

We had a two hour wait between the second game and the championship game. Of course, they played on a day that it was 60° outside and sunny. I get a mom-of-the-year award for sticking around in that dark, dank gymnasium to watch my son play instead of being outside….

And they almost pulled out the championship game. They lost by four measly points. But they were really good sports about it, even cheering for the other team when they won their awards. It helped that they also got recognized for being a runner-up in the championship game; they all got medals. I was so proud of Mario for trying so hard in each game. 


And after sitting in a gymnasium all day long, we got to sit around a restaurant for the next two hours trying to calm down nine insane boys as they got balloon animals and grilled cheeses. Ahhh, what we endure as parents.


Soccer tournament madness

Jon and I got our first taste of mass soccer tournaments today, and I must admit that if we never had to go to another, I wouldn’t be too upset.  It is a madhouse with full parking lots, pop-up hot dog stands, people grazing the fields trying to find where their kid is playing, and sun beaming on you as you stand on the sideline.  Maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad if our team scored a goal or if Ri played a bit more but without those two things happening, I was ready to turn on the AC in the car and take a snooze.

I have a girlfriend whose son is on a select team and she has talked about traveling to his games in the past.  They go to Dayton, Cincy, sometimes Kentucky.  It sounds rather romantic; they all get in the car, drive down to the hotel, practice, watch the games, and head home.  I picture lots of laughing and talking and frivolity.  We traveled to New Albany – 30 minutes from Grandview -and a majority of the time Jon and I were bickering about the best route to take and where the field we were playing on was located (because there are a make-shift 40 fields, easily).  So much for my romantic notions.

Ri played her first game at 11:00 am and they got blown away.  I think that makes it especially difficult to watch, too.  The other teams seem way out of our league and they just dominate us.  This is Ri’s first year on this team, and she is still trying to figure out footwork and stealing the ball, much less dribbling down the field.  So it can be excruciating to watch at times.  By 12:30 when they ended, it was sunny and hot outside and we were all starting to show red shoulders and cheeks.  Ri and Henley wanted to go to a restaurant with AC.  As we tried to head out, we couldn’t find Henley’s mom.  We stood in the heat on the phone with her trying to figure out where she was in this maze of a place.  Meanwhile, Mario begged for a soccer ball and when we said no, he had his Mario fit throwing his arms around and biting his lip.  Maria whined about being starving.  Good times.  We finally found Henley’s mom and all of us squeezed in Jon’s truck to head to a restaurant.

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The restaurant was supposed to be two miles up the road.  Yet, we only saw homes and vacant lots.  Lovely.  We had no choice but to keep heading down the road and we finally spotted a Subway – not exactly the “restaurant” we were hoping for but we only had an hour.  The Subway line was a mile long (ok, maybe not quite a mile) with girls and their parents who had the same idea as we did.  After 20 minutes standing in line, we got our subs.  What an experience.

We headed back to the fields and found our crew grilling out under a blue tent.  Some of the girls were running around playing tag and soccer but not Ri.  Her face was still red and she was not going to get out on that field and run around unless the soccer whistle blew and she was forced out by her coach.

Pretty soon, it was time to pack up and head to the yellow field for our next game.  We looked like nomads in the desert – struggling with our bags in the scorching heat.  Everyone looking a bit ticked about life.  How do parents do this every weekend?! We made it through the second game without a goal on our end, again, but quite a few for the opposing team.  The end of the game whistle blew and the parents rose up with new life in them.  Time to go home.

And how is that we can lose two games so badly yet still have one more game tomorrow?!