Thursday, February 2, 2012


This one's gonna be tough.  Hard for me to write.  Probably hard for you to read.  Here's your prepared for swearing.  Lots and lots of it.  Wicked nasty kind of swearing.  Cuss like a sailor kind of swearing. 

Last time I posted, I talked a bit about heartbreak.  My daughter's heartbreak.  First love kind of heartbreak.  We've all been there.  It sucks.  If it happens to your child though....Well, as a parent it sucks more.  Immeasurably more.  Infinitely more.   The things I wanted to say to that boy...actually he was 19 1/2 when he graduated high school (dumbshit), man.  I use the definition of man in a "Yeah, you're now 18 and able to serve your country, buy cigarettes and vote" way.  You know....EXTREMELY loosely.  But, technically, he was a man.  So, anyway...the things I wanted to say to him.  The things I wanted to DO to him.  To his car.  To his house.  Hateful, horrible, violent, illegal things.  Unless you are a parent or grandparent, or, possibly a very dedicated aunt or uncle, you may not understand feeling violent towards another person.  But, yeahhhhh, I wanted to hurt him.  You see, he hurt my daughter.  My only daughter.  My firstborn.  My baby.  But, of course, I didn't.  Couldn't.  Really... WOULDN'T.  

But, before I churn all that old anger up...and I could....I really fucking could.  I have other anger to share.  More heartbreak.  And, maybe because it's fresh, or maybe because it's dealing with my son, who is the kindest, funniest, most sincere and quiet kid I know, it's devastating.  To me.  To my husband.  To my daughter.  And worst of all, to him.

You see, he is a sophomore in HS.  15 years old.  HS sucks.  ESPECIALLY around here.  We live in a very affluent community.  We are definitely more "have not" than "have" by comparison.  Driving in either of our town's HS parking lots is like a brand new car showroom.  And, not just new Chevy's or Ford's or even Toyotas or Hondas.  No, we're talking BMWs, Mercedes, Lexus.  And, this being Texas, brand new Ford F150 King Ranch editions.  This is the STUDENT parking lot, I might add.  So, needless to say, there is a massive amount of pressure.  To fit in.  Lots of comparison.  Lots of judgment.  Lots of "holier than thou" judgment.  Because this IS the Bible belt after all.

Well, along with this pressure of fitting in comes the pressure of competition.  For clothes.  For shoes.  For grades.  For sports. Now, I realize that I have yet to get to the heartbreak part of things.  However, I wanted to give you all a background of what we're facing.  What he faces.  EVERY day.  It's bullshit. It's FUCKING bullshit.

But, the real bullshit is that he was cut from the baseball team.  Just typing those words feels like a dagger to my chest.  He made the baseball team as a freshman.  Last year he was 6'1" tall and about 135 pounds soaking wet.  Now he's pushing 6'4" 170.  He's added a bit of height, but he's really worked hard with a personal trainer (a friend who helps us with the money situation) to gain a LOT of muscle.  He's still lanky and maybe, to some, skinny.  But, get this....he's a pitcher.  Not a smoking hot 98 mph fastball kind of pitcher.  More like a finesse, holy shit, did you see that ball break, swerve, slide kind of pitcher.  But, as I stated earlier, we're part of the "have not" families to inhabit The Woodlands, Texas.  The "haves" can afford to put their kids in not just Little League baseball from the time they're 4 years old, they put their kids in "select" baseballAKA "private" very expensive kind of baseball.  Former pros own and coach these clubs.  A lot of Daddies, do, too, but, anyway...The "haves" also pay for private lessons.  Private coaching.  $100/hour kind of coaching.  We simply can't do that.  He played a little baseball over the summer.  He definitely worked out and gained muscle and strength. Yet he was still cut from the team.  So, here's the thing that royally pisses me off.  These coaches....  They are VERY fond of themselves.  They think they fucking hung the moon.  They believe they are sooo good at coaching that they can coach anyone.  Yet, they see a kid who's  6'4" athletic, smart, polite and works hard and they don't want him on the team?  WHAT THE FUCK?????? 

I love sports.  I love all sports.  I truly love baseball and football.  And, what's more, I KNOW these sports.  I can actually have an intelligent conversation about these sports to most people.  So, here's my question:   If you see a kid walk into your practice who looks like my build alone....AND you think you are such a shit-hot coach...Then WHY the FUCK wouldn't you want to take him?  No matter how "raw" he is.  No matter what kind of "mechanics" he has.  If you are such a great coach....can't YOU make him into something really special?  But, apparently, we should have spent the fortune we didn't have on getting him that private coaching.

I'm sure to some of you this may sound like a "poor me"  or  "mad Mama who doesn't know shit" kinda thing. MAYBE you think..."well, your kid just doesn't have it."  Obviously that's what these coaches thought.  However, I still stand by my argument that if you see a kid walk into practice who is 6' 4" - 170 lbs.  Wouldn't you want to see what you COULD do with him?  Especially if you are such a great coach and all.

However, I have yet another, even GREATER dilemma.  WHAT do I say to him?  Do I tell him to tell THEM to shove the "manager" position they offered as a consolation prize up their asses?  That's what I want to do.  Do I tell him to go rant and rave and throw things and scream at them?  That's what I want to do.  Do I tell him to make a plan to spray paint the scoreboard with 'FUCK YOU ASSHOLES'  in neon green glow in the dark paint?  That's what I want to do.  Yet, I'm supposed to be an adult.  Mature.  Able to realize that this, too, shall pass. Able to realize that there are far worse things that could happen than this.  

But, it's killing me. KILLING me.  And right now, it sucks.  For me.  For his dad.  For his sister.  For his brother.  And, worst of all, for HIM.  He is better than me.  He is more mature than me.  He didn't scream or cry.  I did.  His dad did.  His sister did.  Even his brother did.  (Although I think the littlest one cried because now he couldn't have sole access to the PS3) 

But, also, right now...I've got to keep setting an example.  I've got to show that even if there are pot holes in the road that turn into giant, massive sinkholes,  I can overcome them.  He can overcome them.  WE can overcome them.  And, most importantly, we can keep reaching.

As of today, he has decided to take the "manager" position.  I'm not ready for him to do that.  But, it's not really up to me.  He loves baseball.  More than anything.  I wouldn't be surprised if he loved it more than anyONE.  He is planning on busting his ass through this year and the summer and the fall.  He is planning on continuing to build muscle and gain strength and speed.  He is planning on making the team next year.  All of these plans are just like what I like to call "Reaching."  Could it be that I have actually taught him something of value after all? 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Hi, All!  Welcome to my blog.  I've decided to start this thing because...well, I thought it would be fun.  Cool.  Interesting.  Cathartic.  Boring.  New.  Different.  Exciting.  Well, at least ONE of those things.  Maybe some more things.  We shall see.  A bit of background on me.  I'm Connie.  I'm a former competitive swimmer.  I was okay at swimming back in the day. 

I got a scholarship to swim to a DI university.  Not a good swimming school by any stretch of the imagination.  At all.  But, I did it.  They paid (a bit) for some of my education for two years.  Then I quit.  Lots of reasons why.  Mostly I just wanted to be a "regular" college student.  That was a while ago.  A VERY  L O N G  while ago.  I graduated. 

I got a job.  I needed a better job.   One "with benefits" as my father told me. I got one.  I became a flight attendant.  I was able to see "some" of the world.  It was fun.  For a time.  I met a boy.  Well, a man.  We fell in love.  We got married. We had a daughter.  We had a son.  I started swimming again.  I did a triathlon.  I loved it.  But, I quit.  Again.

I got a few other jobs here and there.  Never a career.  Just jobs.  Then, in the middle of one of those jobs....I got pregnant.  Again.  Seven years AFTER I had my first son, I had another son.  Surprise!  It kind of reminded me of that one woman show that Julia Sweeney did a few years ago...And, God said, 'Ha!' (Or something along those lines), here I was.  Raising babies...toddlers...children....  Getting FAT.  Doing nothing.  For ME.  I had lots to do.  I was busy...plenty busy.  Diapers. Gymnastics.  TaeKwonDo.  Baseball.  Volleyball.  All for the kids.  I really enjoyed it.  Truly, I did.  I do.  Still.  (Okay, maybe not the diaper part so much)

My daughter grew up.  She graduated from high school.  I never showed her I could do anything.  Not really.  Nothing for ME.  Nothing that showed that I mattered to ME.  I'd tell her plenty. I'd say, "You should value you.  You don't want to HAVE to be dependent on a man. For money.  For confidence.  For self-worth.  For self-love."  But, I NEVER showed her.  Not once. Shame on me.  Truly....SHAME on me!!!

This finally "HIT" me this past summer.  She had been through a first love heartbreak a few years ago.  Another separate yet still bad experience with a boy.  She would say, "Why aren't any of the boys like Dad?"  I would say, "Because your father is wonderful. Loving. Caring. Honest. Honorable. Funny. Hysterically funny. Unique."  They don't make many men like my husband.  Really, I am beyond lucky to have found this guy.

But, through all of these experiences with my daughter, I discovered that I had failed.  She had seen what a wonderful man her dad is.  That was very clear.  Yet, I had not shown her that I, too, was wonderful.  That I was capable.  I thought about this.  About my many failures as a woman.  As a mother.  As an EXAMPLE.  And, then I thought...have I EVER been good at ANYthing? 

The light bulb flickered.  Then, it glared.  Swimming...I was good at swimming.  So, I started swimming again.  A few laps here and there during the "safety break" (aka "adult swim") at our local community pool.  It felt good.  It was very difficult.  VERY.  V E R Y.  I was slow.  I was fat.  But, the thing about swimming is that even if you're fat, that's okay.  Fat floats.  Easily.  So, as hard as it was, it was easy.  I'd set small goals. 10 laps during safety break.  12 laps during the next safety break.  14....16...20.  I started going to the pool even without my children.  They had early hours for lap swimming.  They had late hours for lap swimming.  I went.  Not all the time.  Not every session.  But, I went.  Then, summer was over.  Now what???

Again, I am lucky. Lucky to be in a part of the Houston area where they have an unbelievably good swimming program.  For age groupers (aka kids).  I swam here waaayyyy waaayyy waaayyyy long ago when I was first starting to swim competitively.  They have a beyond beautiful facility associated with the school district.  The Conroe ISD Natatorium.  They have open swim.  You can join like you do a gym or health club and you can swim.  I did it.  But, they also have an amazingly large and good Masters swimming team, too. So, I joined The Woodlands Masters Swim Team, too. Now, I go at least four times a week and swim.  I love it.  It makes me feel good. Physically.  Mentally.  Emotionally. 

I'm hoping that this shows my daughter and my sons that I can be good at something.  That I can be good at swimming.  That I can be more.  That I have self-worth.  That I matter.  So, through this blog, I will show you (or, maybe just myself) that I am CAPABLE. 

So, I have entitled this blog "Reaching for the Wall".  Many of you are runners, cyclists, triathletes.  The wall is something you usually AVOID.  It's a hurdle.  It's an obstacle.  It's something you have to get OVER. It's a bad thing.  But, you see, in swimming, the wall means you're done.  You have reached your goal. You have made it to the end.  Your point.  THE point.

Remember on August 16, 2008 in Beijing?  Michael Phelps v. Michael Cavic in the 100 m butterfly.  The race came down to the end.  The last second.  The last tenth of a second.  The last ONE-HUNDREDth of a second.  It was all about who got to the wall first.  Who was reaching for the wall?  We know how that one ended.  Remember the photo from Sports Illustrated the following week?  The man who was "Reaching for the Wall"...well, he....WON.