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Overcome it and succeed!

October 9, 2013

Overcome it and succeed!

For anyone who hasn’t seen this.  I haven’t blogged in many months.  May have to dust off the cobwebs!

My son is a person first.

May 26, 2011

Several years ago, I had the honor of listening to a presentation by Kathie Snow at a CHASA Family Retreat.  CHASA is the Children’s Hemiplegia and Stroke Association.

Kathie changed my way of thinking about individuals with disabilities.  And especially my thoughts about having a child with a disability.  I always considered myself as having progressive thinking, but Kathie’s message struck a chord with me.  Her information about People First Language hit home.  Words are important.  Thoughts are important.  Full inclusion is possible.

Please take a look at Kathie’s website

Explore and be inspired.  According to Kathie Snow, “People First Language is not political correctness; instead, it demonstrates good manners, respect, the Golden Rule, and more—it can change the way we see a person”

We are raising our son to live a full and real life, with every opportunity and expectation we have for our other two sons.  Thank you Kathie Snow for your insight, intelligence and dedication to educating all of us.

Another individual that I admire is Kyle Maynard.  Kyle is a son, brother, friend, speaker, business owner, published author, wrestler, and more.  Kyle’s story and his determination to live his life with NO EXCUSES is a message for all, not just those with disabilities.

I highly recommend Kyle’s book.  It is a great read…it took me only one weekend to read it.

We are raising our son just as Kyle’s parents raised him….with no excuses….and it is working for us.

My son is a young man, a brother, a cousin, nephew, grandson, student, friend, athlete, hard worker, Paralympic Hopeful, a dreamer, caring, affectionate and so much more.  Oh, and he also happens to be paralyzed on his right side from a stroke he had at the age of 2 years and 3 months.  This paralysis is called Hemiplegia or Hemipareses which is a form of Cerebral Palsy.

Anything is possible.

Thank you!


A sad situation and it’s about playing time

May 20, 2011

This article is 5 months old, but very relevent to what is happening in today’s high schools.  This really has to stop.  If parents are accusing coaches of bullying their kids, why are they sending them back to practice the next day? And how could the program be growing?  And improving? These parents are bullies.  I’d like to file charges against THEM!

Tell me what you think.

Custom Sports Posters

May 20, 2011

With three boys playing sports all year long, and hundreds of photos taken, I have found a great way to preserve these great moments in time.  I take as many photos as I can and also use available photos from our team photographers.  I have created one of a kind posters for my sons as well as friends and acquaintences.  Through word of mouth, I have even expanded to design for businesses and others as well.  I can even offer team and individual sports photography.

If you would like me to design something for you, simply email me at You will email me 5-10 photos of your athlete (other themes are available) along with the wording you would like and I will design your poster.  If you are local, I will print the poster for you.  Frames are available as well.  If you are not local, I will design your poster and send you the jpeg.  You will own the license to the design and can print however you’d like.   Encorporating this little side business allows me to earn some gas money for all those games I am traveling to, so I thank you in advance for your business.

Posters make great gifts for graduates, birthdays, teachers and much more.

One athlete, multi sport, 20×30 print $55,  frame available for $40 more.  Jpeg only $45.

11×14 coaches gift, multi player, $45 for first, $25 for each additional, frame $40, jpeg only $100

8×10 additional prints $15 each, 8×10 frames $25

11×14 individual single sport $45, frame $40, 8×10 additional prints $15, 8×10 frame $25, jpeg only $35

11×14 graduation $45, frame $40, 8×10 additional prints $15, 8×10 frame $25, jpeg only $35

11×14 Dance $45, Frame $40, 8×10 additional print $15, 8×10 frame $25, jpeg only $35

20×30 Individual Band $55, Frame $40, jpeg only $45

11×14 Coach’s gift or Team poster $45 for first, $25 for each additional, frames $40 each

8×10 additional prints $12 each, 8×10 frames $25, jpeg only  $100

Player banquet gift:  8×10 or 5×7.  Please request quote based on number of players, size and framing.

11×14 individual cheer $45, Frame $40, 8×10 additional prints $15, 8×10 frame $25, jpeg only $35

11×14 Awareness Poster  $45,  $25 for each additional, Frame $40, 8×10 additional $15, 8×10 frame $25, jpeg only $35.  Ask about fundraising opportunities.  I am happy to donate a % to your organization!

11×14 Business $45, Frame $40, 8×10 additional print $15, 8×10 frame $25, jpeg only $35

Volume discounts available.  Please request a quote.

20×30 single athlete, multi sport with newspaper articles $55, Frame $40, jpeg only $45

Team and individual player photo packages starting at $20.

Individual Action Photography.  Pricing will vary.  Call for quote.

4×6 wine label, jpeg only $35

8 1/2 x 11 (60 page) program book.  Custom Design just for you.  Call for quote.  You can use your own printing company or I can suggest one for you.

Banner Designs:  any size.  I will design for you.  Just need dimentions.  Jpeg only $50

Other Options:   funeral board, invitations, announcements, and anything else you can dream up, I can design for you.  Please contact me for details and pricing.

Hosting an event or fundraiser?  Silent Auction?  Need raffle items?  I would love to donate a FREE poster for your event.  Contact me to set something up!

Hard work pays off for Athlete with Disability

May 12, 2011

My son had a stroke at the age of 2.  He has played all sorts of sports since he was 5.  He does everything one handed as he is completely paralyzed in his right arm and hand. 

See my post on his road to the paralympics.  Here is a video of Danny on his local parks and rec team.  Danny loves being a leader.  Danny is also on his school team which he had to try out for.  Only 15 kids made the team.  Keep in mind that Danny’s school is one of the largest in our state and the competition is fierce.  Danny’s team was so good, that Danny is on the 2nd-3rd string.  That’s okay, he is constantly working to get better.  He spends hours in the gym perfecting his shot and practicing his ball handling. 

I hope that this video will inspire you to have HOPE for your child.  ANYTHING is possible.  GO DANNY!

The Road to the Paralympics

May 2, 2011
My middle son is an 8th grader at the local Junior High School.
He is a three sport athlete who plays football, basketball and runs track for his school.
Sports are nothing new for him as he has played organized athletics from the age of 5.
This does not sound out of the ordinary until you find out that my son lived through a very serious
stroke at the age of 2 that paralyzed him on the right side of his body.  He was hospitalized
for 5 long weeks as he fought for his life in the Pediatric ICU.  My husband and I were in shock
as our baby’s life hung in the balance.
Fast forward 10 years and hours of physical and occupational therapy later, and our amazing son is living a happy life and he has a dream.  He dreams of making the US Paralympic team and
competing in the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  The Paralympic games run the two
weeks after the Olympic games and are for serious, elite athletes with disabilities from all over the world.
My son has been preparing for the last 9 years.  His first sport was T-ball at the age of 5.
He used the Jim Abbot technique of catching and throwing with one hand and he also bats one
handed.  Next came soccer, basketball and fast pitch.  Then, flag football and soon after, tackle football.  He has played for his local Parks and Recreation teams, AYSO and with the Shelby Lions Football Club.
He has never been a superstar, but he holds his own against his able bodied peers.
Upon entering his Junior High School, he now had to try out for the school teams.  With hard work,
determination and outright skill, he has made both the Football and Basketball teams for two
years running.  This year, he is also running track in order to begin training to be a Paralympian.
My son does everything one handed as the stroke left his right arm and hand completely paralyzed.
He wears a brace on his leg to help him limp less.  He has to work a lot harder than most athletes
to get similar results.  After team practices, you will many times find him back at the gym taking
more shots or organizing a pickup game of hoops.  You will also find him at the track running more,
even as he battles through blisters from breaking in a new leg brace.
Here is Danny on his parks and rec basketball team.  He has been a leader all season.
Here are some highlights from his 8th grade basketball season.  Look for #32 with the leg brace.
On his track team, he competes in the 100m, 800m and Shot Put.  Although, he does not run for points at the meets, his goal is to reach the Paralympic Standards.  The first time out of the gate, he ran a 16.70
in the 100m.  A tenth of a second faster than the Paralympic Junior Standard for Nationals in his disability class!
He will compete in both the Thunder in the Valley Games and The National Junior Disability
Championships this summer.  Both will be held at Saginaw Valley State University.  He will also
test his skill in the Table Tennis Competition.
Since he also excels at racquet sports, he is looking forward to being on his high school’s tennis team in the fall.
My family has been a part of CHASA, the Children’s Hemiplegia and Stroke Association
since Danny’s stroke in April of 1999.  CHASA is a non-profit organization that supports families
living with childhood stroke.  CHASA offers a worldwide online community of over 1500 families,
a national family retreat, scholarships, awareness and also funds pediatric stroke research.  It is through
our affiliation with CHASA, that the we have learned about how to guide our son toward his
Paralympic Dream.
With May being Stroke Awareness Month, we, along with CHASA, are working to create awareness
about childhood stroke and raise money to further this cause.
It is not every day that an athlete gets to bring home a GOLD medal for the US.  With hard work and dedication, we think our son just might have a chance.  Subscribe today to keep up with our son on his road to the Pralympics.

The Boys of Fall

April 22, 2011

My favorite football video. Makes me cry every time!!

Playing time at the High School Level

April 21, 2011

My oldest son, a 16 year old High School junior, is a part of one of, if not the, best athletic programs in our state.  Our High School athletic teams have overall winning records that cannot be denied.  We are fortunate to have extremely talented athletes, dedicated coaches and involved families.  My family has had the privilege of watching our oldest son be a valued contributor on the varsity football, basketball and JV baseball teams at this school.  We feel it is a privilege and an honor to be involved in these athletic programs.

I write today in an effort to foster a more positive attitude and atmosphere among my fellow sports parents.  I think the topic of playing time and position is by far, the most talked about topic in high school sports.  I haven’t done actual research on this.  It’s just my feeling.

I’d like to encourage everyone to maybe, take a step back and enjoy these years.  We all know how quickly the time goes by.  So here are some of my random thoughts.

We, as a family, understand that being on the High School team does not mean our athlete will be guaranteed to play the position he wants to play or get the amount of minutes he would like, out on the field or on the court.  Keep in mind that I am referring to competitive High School sports, not recreation teams or little leagues.  Does that mean that we are never frustrated or upset about playing time or position?  Of course not.  We are human.  It really does happen to everyone…even the best of athletes.

I truly believe our high school coaches are working to WIN championships.  That’s how it should be.  Winning isn’t everything, it’s the ONLY thing at this level.  I want to believe…and I really do believe, that they are fielding the best team possible and there are no politics involved.  I constantly hear this word, politics, and I’m just not buying it.  Being on the Booster Club Board does NOT get my kid more playing time.  Volunteering endless hours does NOT get my kid more playing time.  (Although, volunteering and being involved to help the team as a whole is greatly appreciated, needed and valued by all.)  Complaining to other parents, the coaches or the Athletic Director will NOT and SHOULD NOT get my kid more playing time.  Only the best players…the ones who are most likely to help the team win games are getting the playing time.  A kid gets the starting position and playing time because he or she deserves it, not because the parent did or didn’t do something.  I don’t want to appear naive, but really… how long would a coach last if he or she were giving less talented players preferential playing time for some reason other than their ability?  Maybe there are some of you out there who disagree with me.  Let me know what you think.  Maybe upper classmen should get first chance at a spot.  But then, they have to work to keep that spot.  And it should be up for grabs all season.  If someone beats them out, they will have to work harder to get it back.

Now, I have seen talented players cut from teams….only to find out that they are trouble makers or bullies, don’t keep up their grades or don’t work hard in practice.  This, I agree with, and wish coaches took these things into account more often.

It is my belief and understanding that each athlete soon knows his role on the team.  He knows how much playing time he will get or not get.  He knows which position he will play or not play.  The athletes have been informed.  Everyone has his role.

Some athletes’ roles are to be the Scout players:  the ones in practice who play hard against the first string.  The ones who make the starters BETTER.  Without the Scout team, the team would not succeed.  They are an important and integral part of the team.  The team cannot WIN without them.  Our athletes are truly looking to us, their parents, to support them in their role on the team.  They are usually fine with their role.  What scares them, is worrying how we, their  parents, will handle their role on the team.  We need to encourage and support them always.

Honestly, we understand that it can be frustrating to think your kid should be playing when he is not. Everyone wants to see their kid get to play.  It’s way more fun when your kid is on the field.  And it’s even harder to get playing time when your athlete attends the largest school in the state with extremely talented athletes everywhere.  When it happened to our son, we resisted the urge to call the coaches ourselves.  I did find myself, however, complaining to a few parents and I regret that now.  I’m only human and I did do it.  I will say that my tiny bit of blabbering only occured when I was approached by others who noticed that my son wasn’t playing like they thought he should be.  There is something to be said about that mob or “group think” mentality.  When others are complaining, it becomes a bit contagious.  We must RESIST this.  It only hurts the program. Several  parents asked us if we were going to call and complain.  Our high school athletes are 15, 16, 17 and 18 years old.  They are old enough to handle this type of thing on their own.  We have never called a coach to complain about playing time.  We did, however, encourage our son to respectfully ask the coaches (at the appropriate time) how he could improve enough to get a chance to play.  I’m not exactly sure how the conversations went and my son is on the quiet side, so this was big for him.  He must have shown something in practice and he was given his chance.  He made the most of it and soon he was a starting player and contributor on the team.  It is extremely satisfying as a parent, to know that my son did it on his own with absolutely no help from me.

Being a superstar at the age of 9 or even 13 or 14, does not always transfer to the varsity level.  Sometimes athletes continue to develop, grow and improve as they enter high school and sometimes they do not.  Believe me, I know how important sports are in some families.  I’m a mom of three boys who all play sports.  We love competition.  We believe in it so much that we never even let our kids win at Candyland when they were toddlers!  Our lives revolve around our kids sports.  I get it.  We don’t go on vacations because of our kids practice schedules.  We’ve traveled on weekends and holidays for tournaments.  We eat in our car and go from one thing to the next.  You name it, we’ve done it.

I’m so thankful to have met so many great sports families.  I, along with my husband… we love to talk about strategy, players and opponents.  That is great fun, when kept respectful and humble and in perspective, people!

We must remember that our coaches (especially high school coaches) are dedicating a very large part of their lives to our athletes.  They sacrifice time with their families to be with our kids.  They do it because they love the game and they love our kids.  They are good people.  Is it possible that they make mistakes?  I’m sure any of them would tell you that they do.  Encourage your athlete to talk to his coaches.  “How can I improve?”, “What do I need to do?”.  “Can I get a tryout at ______ position?”.  “Can I challenge ______for his position?” These are respectful, good questions for your ATHLETE to ask his coach.

I think it’s also good to be reminded to act with integrity and class during all sporting events.  Please represent your school well by not degrading, jeering or yelling at opposing players, coaches and officials.  Trust me, it is embarrassing to both your child, their coaches and other parents.  Even if you are right, take a moment and think.  Just don’t do it.  Plus, it is my belief that championships are not won because of poor or biased officiating.  They are won by hardworking teams with a common goal.  Our kids learn from what they see us do and say.  Let your actions speak volumes by being a class act in the stands.

Many of you know our story and how we almost lost our middle son to a devastating stroke when he was 2.  It was touch and go for many days on life support and the ICU.  It was the darkest time of our lives.  Once we knew he was out of the woods, it wasn’t long before we wondered if he’d play sports.  There are a lot of serious things to consider when a child has a stroke.  We thought of all those things.  But, we soon thought about sports for our son.  Well, he is 14 now.  He has played and succeeded at every sport under the sun.  He played on the 7th and 8th grade school football and basketball teams.

Our son plays completely one handed and with a brace on his leg because the stroke left him paralyzed.  His smile when he is playing on the team is better than any MVP award or college sports scholarship.  Our son’s life helps us to keep it all in perspective.  We are over the moon that he is good enough to make the team.  We even pray for blowouts so he’ll get more playing time.  It’s more fun for us when our kid is on the court.  We get it!

Lastly, I know that we all know parents who would give anything….give it all up….they’d give up all the wins, all the awards, all the scholarships…if only they could.

A football star, who lost his legs in the war and then his life…taken too soon.

A team Captain…fighting brain cancer until he could fight no more.

A basketball superstar and the County Player of the year….who’s life came to a tragic end in his senior year of college.

Yes, I think their parents would probably give up all of those high school sports moments….every single bit of it to have… just one….just one more day with their child.

I encourage you to keep things in perspective.  Not every athlete is a superstar, a college prospect or a future professional athlete.  Enjoy their time on the team.  Do not have regrets about your own behavior.  Be positive, encouraging and supportive.

My sports journey…the early years.

April 21, 2011

I grew up loving sports.  My earliest memories are of wanting to be an athlete.  I have always been a tomboy, never wanting to wear dresses or pretty shoes.  Eventually, I did come around to enjoying fashion. 

I used to love that I was the only girl on the street playing ball with all the boys.  I only had 3 barbie dolls and I loved getting dirty.  Back then, it was still amazing that a girl could hit a baseball or (kindof) throw a spiral. 

Organized sports were not as prevalent back then, especially for girls.  I grew up watching my brother play hockey and baseball while I watched on the sidelines.  We tried to start a girls hockey team when I was nine, but we only found about 8 girls who wanted to play.  We’d need at least 12 to have a game so that didn’t work out.  I refused to wear figure skates.  Only hockey skates would do.  I skated during the boys practices and during open skate.  I’d soon put down my skates for good.

Finally, in the 5th grade, I played on my first softball team.  The coach didn’t care if I could play.  His eyes lit up when he saw how tall I was.  You will play first base, he said.  OK, I just wanted to play.  I used to play catch with my dad on the front lawn.  Sometimes, we would play a game of “pickle” with my bother and the neighbor kids.  I could throw hard, but not always very accurate.  So, first base was perfect for me.

The years marched on and I played softball in the Parks and Rec league every summer from then on.  I would swim in our backyard pool all day and play my games in the evenings.  I could even ride my bike to practices.  In those days, we actually played in the summer instead of the early, frigid, spring. 

We had a basketball net attached to our garage.  I would watch my little brother dribble and shoot all day long.  He played so much that he wore off the grip on the ball.  It was as smooth as glass.  I was about a foot taller than my brother, but he could dribble right past me and score every time. I wasn’t too great at basketball, but I would play sometimes.

For some reason, I decided to try out for our eighth grade basketball team at school. 

I was so terrible.  But, again with the height.  I was tall and I guess that was all that mattered.  I didn’t even know how to make a layup.  I was one of two who never got in the games early in the season. I remember Jennifer and I crying in the locker room after those games.  I knew I was pretty bad, but I still wanted to play.  I’m not sure how I did it, but by the end of the season, I had worked my way into the starting lineup.  I figured out how to steal the ball from the opposing point guard.  I would get fast breaks, run down the court alone and…slam it off the backboard.  Still couldn’t make a layup.  We had one play.  I thought it was pretty cool.  I finally started to shoot…and miss a lot.  The highlight of my 8th grade basketball season was hearing my name on the morning announcements once for being the team high scorer…with 6 points.  I’ll never forget it. 

OK, fine, that’s me on the far right in the middle row.  I am still good friends with Vicki, Kara and Laurie.  I am cracking up at our hair and tube socks.  I don’t think any of us had high tops.  I have no idea how many games we won that year. 

I went to tryouts for the High School basketball team that next summer.  It was a bit more serious than the 8th grade team.  I think I had to have more talent than just height.  OK, I know height is not a talent.  I lasted one day.  The coach asked us to run the mile.  I had never run a mile in my life.  I had no idea that I should have been conditioning and practicing.  I could barely finish the run.  I decided that I never wanted to do that again and never went back to tryouts.  I wish I would have stuck it out.  I’m thinking I might have been cut anyway, but at least I wouldn’t have been a quitter. 

I did try out for, and make, the varsity softball team in 11th grade.  I think I must have barely made it.  I was okay, but not great.  That team was really good.

I hurt my thumb playing first base and it didn’t heal until years later.  So, I warmed the bench on this team, too.  I was just happy to be there and be part of this Conference Champion team.  As I look at this photograph, I am really enjoying the skinny arms and totally flat stomach.  I can’t help it.  Ah, to be 16 again.

I was cut the next year.  It was a true disappointment to me.  But, looking back, it was probably the right decision by the coach.  I was good enough to play in the rec leagues, but I was a borderline varsity player….in any sport.  I went to one day of volleyball tryouts.  Again with the running.  I hated it.  I loved swimming class.  I was pretty good.  Maybe I should have tried out for the swim team.  There were not a lot of female athletes in my family.  My cousin played some.  She was really good.  But, other than that, I had no real role models in the form of female athletes at home.  I wish I was encouraged to work harder and practice more. 

I continued to play for fun and played intramural sports in college.  I played softball, volleyball and basketball.  I began playing co-ed sports in the local city league with my friends from high school.  It is then that I was reconnected with some great friends and a passionate athlete and sports fanatic named Mike.  Mike and I would start dating, fall in love and get married. Our love story began on the co-ed softball field.  It sounds so romantic when I say it that way.  Mike was impressed with my love of sports and I reeled him in.  And that is a story for another day. 

Thank you for reading my first blog entry.  I have lots of ideas and look forward to hearing from you! 

I look forward to blogging about my experience raising three athletic sons.  We have enjoyed watching all three of them play for the past 13 years or so.  My love for sports has reached an all time high as I have cheered for my sons these last 13 years.  My greatest joy is sitting in the bleachers (or one of those fold up bag chairs) watching them play.  We’ve watched them play every sport known to man.  OK, not every sport.  There has to be a ball involved.  No pucks, skis or skates.  So my stint with that non existent girls hockey team might be the only hockey post you will see from me. 

I’ll talk about little league, high school sports, disability sports, the paralympics, serious competition, crazy parents, playing time, coaching, living vicariously through our kids and much more.  I hope you will subscribe today.