My Apologies

Several months ago I went on vacation.  Just before I left, I mentioned here in my blog that I would be gone and that I would come back refreshed, reenergized, and with lots and lots of stories to tell and pictures to share.

Well I did come back reenergized.  I had a blast visiting my favorite cousin and my other relatives.  I do remember sharing several pictures.  I also remember promising to share more as soon as I finished transferring the pictures from my digicam to my computer.

That, ladies and gentlemen, was about almost two months ago.  After posting the picture of my close encounter with darling George (Clooney), I seemed to have disappeared once again.

This time, not for a vacation.  This time, for work.  I had to work on something my son loved… something that even I have grown to love. 

Baseball.

Getting Ready for July

Several blogs back, I mentioned about a baseball tournament that I was organizing.  Well, said tournament is this July… and it seems like the moment I got back from vacation, I had to spend all my waking hours preparing for the said event. 

I won’t go into the details anymore, but between the emails, the sponsorship letters we had to write, the people we had to talk to, the parents’ meetings, the weekend and even weekday scrimmages, the uniforms we had to order, the travel plans, the accommodations, the gossips and attacks we were getting from envious people… well, there were just so many things going on that I couldn’t find the time to just sit down and compose something other than a marketing letter or a school excuse letter.  There just wasn’t enough time.  My creative juices were simply not flowing in the blogging direction.

See? I just went into the details when I said I wouldn’t.

But despite the work it entails, despite the jealous detractors that we know we have (there just are people who cannot be happy for the success of others), I simply love everything that’s happening.  I love my co-parents in the team, I love the support everyone’s been giving to each other.  I love the fact that though there’s no monetary compensation involved, the parents generously give of themselves — by sharing whatever talents, gifts or skills that they have.  They don’t tell the coaches what to do, but they support each player from the sidelines.  Nobody acts superior.  Not one player acts like he’s the star. 

We are a team. The players, the coaching staff, the parents and the rest of their families work together as one.  Because we have a common goal.  The goal of not just winning, but of making better people out of these 12 boys.

Don't just be good. Be GREAT.

***

I have lots to share.  And I know after this major tournament, I will have lots MORE to share.  But for now, I know I have to focus on the tasks at hand. 

And yes, I also need to get some sleep. 

So I bid you bye for now.  Maybe I will pop up once in a while and share something I learned or experienced while watching the boys’ training.  Or maybe I can write about the fun that the parents are having — especially when they are making fun of each other.  But I’m not promising anything at this point.

I’ll miss my readers… as much as I have missed blogging.  But like I said, there are other things I have to prioritize.  Besides, blogging at 12:45 in the morning just isn’t healthy.

So I bid you adieu for now.  Maybe you’ll hear from me after July. 

But wherever you may be, can you please say a short prayer for our boys… for protection, for strength and perseverance,  for sportsmanship, for success… and most importantly, pray that they keep the joy in their hearts.  Win or lose.  

 À tout à l’heure.

Never.

*** *** *** *** *** ***

photos via weheartit.com

Gone but NOT Forgotten

Last stop... San Francisco

I’m back!!

Yes, I was gone for three weeks.  Okay, make that four since upon checking I just realized that my last post was dated March 15. 

To those who are wondering where the heck I have been (thank you guys for missing me), well, I went on vacation.  A much needed one.  And I had super duper fun.  I had so much fun that not once did I check if my blog stats were moving at all.  (Well, I checked just now and found out that people were still visiting my site even though I wasn’t around. Yey!  Does my blog title make sense now?!)

I have lots to tell.  Really.  I spent some time with Mickey Mouse.  I saw Jack Sparrow.  Count Dracula tried to bite my neck (after saying my blood probably tastes sweet. Sleazy!!).  I watched a Dodgers vs Giants game live.  I chatted with my best friend/person til the wee hours of the morning (live, too!).  My family and I played in the snow.  I went inside five different Victoria’s Secret shops.. and managed to buy something from every shop.  Heaven on earth, indeed!

Lots and lots to tell.  Have to deal with the jetlag first, though. 

Heavy eyes, bloated everything,  terribly jetlagged… but with a very joyous heart. 

Life is good!

*** *** *** *** ***

photo via weheartit.com 

Facing Your Giants

 

Fearless

We are currently embarking on a big project for my son and his baseball teammates.  We were invited to a week-long, out of town tournament where the boys will be playing against ten teams from different places.  To say that it is a privilege to be invited will be an understatement.  This would be an experience that is good for the boys.  They will be playing as a team… and they will be playing as friends. 

However, since there is an age requirement and the games will not be until July, the more senior players will already move to the next bracket, thus, leaving the younger ones.  But given the fact that they have been playing together for the school for two or three years now they all know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.  You would think that the confidence will still be there despite the fact that some boys are already moving up.

Talking to the parents about the invitation elicited various reactions, though.  At first most of them were excited… REALLY excited.  They saw that this is a great opportunity for their kid.  It’s not just an interschool tournament… the kids will play against teams from other countries, even.  Some parents were just plain gung-ho.  They were very thankful that their son was given the chance to join the team.   They even offered to help in whatever way they can just to get the team there. Their first question was, “When’s the first practice?”

But then, there were parents whose first reaction was fear.  Followed by doubt.  Coupled with disbelief.   Fear: “What if the boys there are twice as big as our boys?”  Doubt: “We don’t want them to get clobbered.  It will be devastating.” Disbelief: “Are our boys good enough?  Maybe they should send more senior players… ours are mostly at the lower age of the bracket .”  (Goodness, the age level’s 11-12.  It’s either they are 11 OR 12.)

And so the strong team that we saw in the beginning started disappearing right before our eyes.  Mainly because there were parents who apparently didn’t see their kids as good enough to add value to the team.  What they focused on were the big players of the opposing teams.  Players they have not even seen yet. 

It is just plain sad.

~ * ~

Who's your Giant?

We all have giants to face at some point in our lives. 

Life is like one baseball game… we are all on the same playing field, but the players come in different shapes and sizes.  You don’t always know what or who you will be up against.  That’s why we equip ourselves… we train, we improve our skills, we build our confidence… we try to make ourselves better.   

We ready ourselves so that when time comes that we come face to face with ‘giants,’ we don’t cower in fear.  We slug it out. 

Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose.  But losing isn’t all that bad if we know that we fought ‘til the end and we gave it our best.  What’s sad is if we give up even before we try.  The game hasn’t begun, yet we have already succumbed to defeat. 

Yes, we don’t always win.  There are giants that are just too big and too powerful.  It is easier to give in to fear and self-doubt.  But then again, what about those times when we win over problems, issues or challenges that seemed bigger than us? What about those times when we made that extra step which led us to victory when all along we thought it was a hopeless situation?  What about those times when we believed in ourselves, our capabilities enough to prove that not every difficult situation is a hopeless one? 

~*~

Thinking about our baseball-parent-friends and their reasons for not wanting their children to join the team… reasons that are basically motivated by fear, I can’t help but feel sad and disappointed.  Here is an opportunity that practically fell on our hands… something that other children (and parents) would die for and could only hope for… But they are willing to let go of the opportunity because of fear.  Fear of losing.  Fear of having bigger opponents.  Fear of things not being easy. 

But then life ISN’T always easy. 

Yes, everyone’s entitled to his or her own opinion.  Maybe these parents don’t believe in the other boys enough.  Maybe they don’t believe in their kids enough.  Or maybe they just don’t see the value that this tournament will bring to their child.  I think for my part, I just have to learn to respect their decisions.  I also believe that maybe this is for the best.  We wouldn’t want to have someone in the team whose heart is not in it.  Maybe we are better off with other players who are willing to train, willing to fight, willing to face their giants.

Devastating loss?  I believe that if you give your best, there’s no such thing as a devastating loss.  You may not win the game– but the bonding, the team work, the memories… the over-all experience, these are reasons enough to make one feel victorious. 

Do you only win because you scored higher… or do you win because you lived the experience?

It is all a matter of perspective.

very well said...

 *** *** *** *** *** ***

photos via weheartit.com

Highlight of My Year

The year 2010 seemed to have just breezed by. 

I don’t know why but as we get older, the days just pass quickly.  You wake up on a Monday (sometimes grudgingly), do your work or your errands… before you know it, it’s midweek already… and then it’s the weekend… and then you’re back to Monday. Unlike when we were young and the days seemed endless.  You stay in school for what feels like a very long time, but in reality, it’s just a school year.  Or remember those endless summer days and nights?  They just seemed, well, endless…

endless days

The last two weeks of December was a blur.  It was a series of Christmas parties, reunions, dinners and lunches.  It was mostly fun, somewhat tiring, and a whole lot fattening.  I think I gained about five pounds just these past couple of weeks.  THAT is definitely NOT the highlight of my year. 

I have to say, though, that I have honed my entertaining skills given the number of times I hosted a Christmas reunion/party at home this year.  Not bad for someone who used to be afraid of having guests at home.  Like I told a friend of mine, I was truly channeling Giada de Laurentiis these past two weeks!

sample of my feast

Right now I am preparing — yet again —  for another gathering… New Year’s countdown this time.  But before I turn on the domestic diva mode, let me recall the things that happened this year (2010) that pretty much stood out.

—  We moved to a new house end of 2009, and was fully settled by January.  Fully settled meaning most of the house is fully decorated.  However, we kept tweaking some parts — add tiles here, put a roof there, add glass and wood on the fence, etc… thus,  basically the relationship with the architect is long lasting.

— I became more hospitable, more welcoming… I learned how to warmly receive guests.  I used to be afraid of big parties at home.  I dreaded having to fix up afterwards.  For some reason, after we moved to the new house, my perspective changed.  I looked forward to having guests.  We have a group that meets at my home almost every other week.  I have thrown countless parties — and enjoyed every minute of organizing them.  One thing I learned, as I opened my house, I basically opened my heart to people, as well. 

— I started to write regularly again.  Thanks to this blog, I am able to do something that I am passionate about.  I may not be able to write as often as I want, but I do try.  And it’s the perfect outlet.  I love, blogging.

— A favorite writer of mine posted a comment on one of my blogs. Yey!  I almost died of shock, but yey! just the same. Did I say I love blogging?!

— I met new friends and got closer to old ones.  My baseball family is really like family.  I believe all those games helped strengthen the bond between us.  It is good to know that there are people who will look after my son when I’m not around… the same way that they can trust me with theirs when the need arises.  I am also thankful for the blog friends that I found this year.  Who would have thought?  I started blogging just with the goal of somehow being read by someone… I never expected I will form friendships along the way.  A big bonus… or better yet, a blessing. 

— We got a dog.  A yellow labrador. Now a big, yellow labrador. A big, yellow labrador that drags me around the garden whenever I am the one holding him.  I used to be afraid of dogs.  I didn’t like the noise, the smell and the thought that they might bite my legs.  But now I know what googly puppy look means.  My big labrador gives me that look and my heart just melts. I love this dog to bits!

— Sometime during the year I realized I was losing some jewelry.  The thing was, I couldn’t just accuse anyone.  Given the number of workers who went in and out of the house (because it has been a work in progress, like I said), I had no proof.  I was heartbroken.  For some time I didn’t know who to trust, how to trust… But then I guess the most important learning that I had given the incident was that after all that has happened, one’s relationships with people are still more important than any material thing.    And yes, I learned to be more careful (and responsible) with my things, too. During that really low point, I prayed for inner peace, more than anything. 

— I counted — and shared– my blessings.  I became more appreciative of what I have.  Appreciative and thankful.  And I learned how to share wholeheartedly… without expecting for anything in return.  I knew that when you bless someone, you will be blessed back.

count your blessings

Moving on… moving forward…

I am thankful for all the days I was blessed with this year, whether good or bad, exciting or boring… Am glad I was given those days.  I am thankful for friends, near or far… from baseball fields to malls, from Ohio to London to Sweden… You guys totally rock!!  I am so blessed, indeed.

And I am looking forward to another year of abundance. 

Happy New Year everyone!  See you next year… or tomorrow. 🙂

*** *** *** *** *** ***

photo credits: beach house and blessings — via weheartit.com;  Sumptuous feast — mine!!!

Baseball, bullying and band aids

@#$%!!!

… The bases are loaded.  Before the next batter steps up on the plate, a voice from somewhere near the dug-out of the fielding team calls out… “Third baseman! When the ball goes your way, tag the other runner out then throw to home, okay? Don’t forget, throw to home!!” 

No, it wasn’t the voice of the coach. It was the voice of third-baseman’s-dad-who’s-not-even-parent-coach.

Ball goes to third baseman’s direction.  It was a drive that third baseman failed to block properly.  Third baseman fumbles then gets the ball.  Runner from second was already safe at third.  Third baseman throws to home but was a couple of seconds too late.  The opposing team earned a point.

Then came the voice — again — from the not so distant dug-out…  getting very near the third base.

“&$%@ Why didn’t you block properly?! @$%@ I told you to throw to home!  Why didn’t you throw the ball right away??!”

And as if that wasn’t enough…  “Next time you move faster.  And you listen to what I tell you!! “

Third baseman just stares at the source of the tirade. Nobody else says a word.  But the whole field could feel the tension.

~ * ~

I love baseball.  Ever since my son started playing the sport, I easily became a baseball mom.  Despite the heat — or at times the rain, despite the early mornings and the long hours, I can still honestly say that I enjoy watching the games. 

Over the years, I have made friends with different parents.  Parents of my son’s teammates… parents of the kids from the opposing teams.  Somehow one cannot help but get to know most of them, specially since our kids always play together or against each other year in and year out.

I enjoy meeting new people and making new friends.  I like warm and friendly people.  People who make you feel like you’re part of one big happy family.  People whose children you would want your child to be friends with, as well.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everybody’s just nice to each other??

Yet there are the  “others.”  In my book, they are the “special ones.”  Special because they seem to contradict every parenting belief that I have or that I adhere to.  Somehow, you listen to them and you just want to shake your head in disbelief.

I don’t really understand how some people can just berate their kids in front of — well, everyone watching the game.  The scenario above is not a work of fiction.  Truly, there are parents who can’t seem to keep themselves from getting angry at their child in front of everybody.  And it’s not even just mild anger… they go ballistic when their child fumbles, and shouts at the poor kid right there in the middle of the diamond, during the game. 

How humiliating can that be?

~ * ~

a family that shouts together...

As parents, we have to be careful about how we react or respond to situations.  When watching tournaments like these, sometimes the game gets so intense that the parents get involved… too involved even.  Unfortunately, there are those who can’t seem to control themselves and who berate their children right then and there.  Like fumbling is a mortal sin and the child deserves to be punished for making a mistake.  

I remember seeing this father and son tandem before… Son plays shortstop, father coaches from the bleachers (unsolicited coaching).   Everytime the child makes a move, the dad tells him what the next move should be.  Dad probably thinks he holds a remote control and the son is supposed to be controlled.   Whenever the child fumbles, the dad with his ever booming voice calls out the boy’s name and points out the mistake.   Does the child clam up when the dad’s scolding him?  No way.  Son answers back.  Shouts at the dad, as well.  Every single person on the field — playing or not — could hear the exchange.  One can only wonder how things go when they are back home. 

So, do we blame the child for being disrespectful?  Isn’t he just looking after himself since as we all witnessed, the dad was giving him a barrage of expletives in front of everybody?

Shouldn’t parents be the first ones to show respect to their own kids for the latter to know what respect really means?

~ * ~

Worst and most immature reaction I have witnessed so far in a baseball game: 
Runner rammed into 2nd baseman on the field.  2nd baseman fell to the ground, writhed in pain… Father of the runner stood up from where he was sitting… raised his hand with balled fist and cheered their school cheer.  Looked so happy and proud that a player from the opposing team got hurt.

Unbelievable. What was this parent teaching his kid, as well as the other children who saw him?  That it’s okay to hurt your opponent as long as you get ahead? 

Isn’t that what you call bullying?

~ * ~

scarred for life

We encourage our children to join sports because of the many positive things that they will learn.  They learn about discipline, hard work, teamwork…  Sports can bring out the best in our kids, make them want to give their all always.  And during those times when they lose a game, they still learn something from the experience.  They learn about humility. They learn about standing up again after a mistake or a loss.   This is what parents should foster in their kids.  How to be magnanimous in victory and how to lose with grace.

My heart breaks everytime I see a child being publicly humiliated by his own parents.  I am outraged when adults bully children who are one third their age.  It is just so low.  Because tournament or no tournament, at the end of the day, it is still just a game. 

In time, the scores will be forgotten.  But the scars in the child’s psyche… well, that will stay.  And that stays for a very long time.

*** *** *** *** *** *** ***

photo via google images and weheartit.com

And then there was… baseball

from dusk 'til dawn

It was another baseball weekend.

Two full days of tournament.  On Saturday my son’s team played two games, on Sunday they played three.  Since they kept playing, it also meant that they kept winning (losing two games means the team should start packing ‘coz they’re going home).  They could have reached and won the championship game if only the last two teams they played against were not that good.  But well, all the teams played to win.  Our team came in third.  Not bad for a new team.

To say that it was an exhausting weekend would be an understatement.   The long day, the heat, the waiting in between games truly sucked the energy out of me.  At some point during the day, I was already starting to imagine what my alternate self in my alternate universe would have been doing on that weekend.  Probably Christmas shopping.  Alternate SGM was joyously strolling at the airconditioned mall, shopping for Christmas gifts, looking so pristine while sipping her favorite iced mocha.   The real ME on the other hand, spent the two days under the sun and the heat and the occasional drizzle.  With sand and soil on my shoes and my pants.  I was the perfect poster girl for the Sahara desert. 

When we got back home Sunday evening, I was just so tired.  Dead tired. 

~ * ~

happiness in a glove

Enough of the whining, though, because I know that despite the heat and the exhaustion, it was a good weekend for all of us baseball parents who were there to watch and cheer for our boys.  We had food, we had drinks.   And do you know of people who are very gifted at entertaining others?  Well, we had those, too.  Ergo, we had laughter. Lots and lots of laughter. 

It is really nice when parents get together for a certain goal. Ours was to extend whatever support our kids needed… not only to win the games, but for them to learn from the actual experience, as well.  So whether they win or lose, our prayer was that they take something valuable home with them. 

It is not always just about the skills that the child develops when he does sports.  It is also about the values that he learns.  The life lessons that he will bring with him as he gets older.  It is also about the memories that these children build individually and even as a team.

And to be part of those memory-building moments… isn’t that what parenting is about?

*** *** *** *** ***

next blog:  Parenting from the Other Side… (The kind of parent you wouldn’t want to be). Watch out for it.  I still have to collect my thoughts. As I said, I was dead tired over the weekend, I haven’t really recovered yet.

photo via weheartit.com

 

For the love of the game

 The GQ Eye: GQ

You wake up really early on weekends because you have to bring your son to a baseball game. Even when you’d rather stay home in bed, you trudge along even before the sun is up.  Sometimes you endure a long drive just to get to the venue of the game.

You stay under the sun for several hours.  Under the scorching heat.  Sometimes, no amount of sunblock can keep you from getting toasted.  You still go home feeling (and looking) like a roasted chestnut.  At times you get almost dehydrated — you can’t drink too much since you don’t know where the nearest bathroom is.  Most of the time, you have to cross the whole field to get to the nearest bathroom.  The nearest bathroom is just way too far.

You see different personalities on the field.  The ones to watch out for are on the bleachers.  From the field, you learn about team work, unity and courage.  From the bleachers, you learn about parent-bullies and know-it-alls.  You learn about friendship, too.

You go home tired and feeling drained out after the game.  Sometimes you feel like you were the one on the field playing, not just a mere spectator.  Sometimes you tell yourself you will decide to miss the next game — and the game after that. 

But you know in your heart of hearts that you will still go… that for sure you will be there in the next game, cheering your heart and lungs out.  So why do you still go?  After all the whining and complaining, what makes you go to a game again and again… and again?

Perhaps it’s because you know that your son loves baseball.  It’s because of that smile on his face whenever he is around with his teammates.  It’s because of the discipline that the sport is teaching your child.  It is because you don’t want to miss that hit… or that home run.  And you want to be there when he makes that winning catch… or winning run.

Maybe it’s also because of the new friends you have made while sitting on the bleachers… the parents you end up having weekend barbecues with.  Maybe it’s the friends that your child has gained, being part of a team.  The little boys you know your child will grow up with.

Despite the heat, rain, long drives and long hours, you know that you cannot stay away.  Mainly because you know that the game makes your child happy. 

And perhaps it’s because you wouldn’t want to miss a moment.  Whether it’s a moment of victory or defeat, joy or sorrow, excitement or boredom.  Whatever moment it is, you would want to share it with your child.  You would want to be there.

Or maybe, just maybe, you have grown to love the game, as well.

 *** *** *** *** ** **

photo via: weheartit.com

smileys

Things that made me smile today…

1.  Looking at the picture of my favorite boys — my son and my two nephews.  They are just so adorable it melts my heart.

2.  Watching my son’s baseball game.  I didn’t just smile. I roared and cheered.  It was just pure joy watching those boys play.

3.  A facebook message from a ghost from the past. Made me realize that there are people you forget, and there are people who remember you.

4.  Justin Bieber song  Baby.  Drives me crazy everytime I hear it, yet once it’s in my head, I simply can’t stop singing.

5.  Unexpected bank account balance.  There is a money angel after all.

6.  New red lipstick.

7.  Buying something nice for my sister.

8.  My baseball mom friends.  Their stories, jokes and paranoia.

9.  A little boy named Marco.

10.  Staying under the sun and the scorching heat without being catty and whiney.  Helps to know that I don’t sweat, I glow.

11.  Enjoying a long shower after a hot, exhausting day. 

12.  A monkey bear.

13. Writing a seemingly senseless blog… Just because.