Friday, March 13, 2015

And I Quote

In our house, we play a lot of sports.  There is always a practice or a game - I just sit in my car and wait for someone I know to get in.  And not only is it hectic, but it is demanding.  Both of my kids are now at a level of play where they are experiencing true competition, where coaches are no longer required to be fair, but to win. There is a constant pressure to earn your spot on your team over and over, and over, again.

In my day, sports didn't really gear up until high school - I don't remember locking in with an agent by 3rd grade.  But here we are, and there it is.

My kids have set goals and are working to achieve them.  And just like any other humans, they have good days and bad.  But every time they walk out the door, I like to arm them with the right words.

"The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday."
"Work until you no longer have to introduce yourself."
"Once in awhile, blow your own damn mind."

As the legend goes, when my Great Grandma was in her child-bearing years, she kept baby names in her apron pocket.  Every time she gave birth, she would pull a name out and bestow it upon her child.  They were excellent, hearty, full-bodied names, like Beulah Exolona and Ruby Leota.  In that spirit, I keep photos of Pinterest quotes on my smartphone, so that I am ready at a moment's notice to produce creative word genius.

Since we are in the height of their respective seasons, I have been flipping through my camera roll more than usual.  The challenge is, how to continue to provide fresh motivation to my kids on the sports roller coaster? What goes down must come up?  The only thing you have to fear is fear itself?  At least you didn't throw up?

I can't draw on my own athletic experience, because it consists of two middle school basketball practices and a single season of tennis my freshman year of high school.  I then succumbed to the asthma, at which point Coach Coffee told my teammates, "That Alison, she is sorry."

But what I can draw on is my own desire to be proud of myself, to truly feel I have done my best every day. I encourage that with my children, even though I don't exactly know how to achieve it.  That's an entirely separate Pinterest board ...

"Be gentle with yourself, you are doing the best you can."
"When something goes wrong in your life, just yell 'plot twist!' and move on."
"The Mad Hatter: 'Have I gone mad?'  Alice: 'I'm afraid so. You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret.  All the best people are.'"

The best quotes get right to the heart of the matter, and bring us just a little extra enlightenment. Will they help us run faster, score more often, and win MVP?  I don't have scientific proof.  But the right words can tap into a universal feeling or need, and give the reader a bit of comfort that the world is with them, in good times and bad.  And, just like a fortune cookie, they can often bring a pleasant surprise.

Until next time, keep crowin'!