How do you deal with a teenage daughter who has been invited to the X-Games but can’t go because of a torn ACL?

January 6, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Posted in ACL recovery, Moms of talented teens, Mothers, Self Esteem, sports, teenagers | Leave a comment
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So my daughter was cruising along the path of success.  She qualified for and was invited to international events.  And she podiumed pretty much at all her stops.  With her greatest gold being the Junior World Championships last August.

This fall she was invited to the Dew Tour- a first ever for the ladies in her sport.  What a cool thing to be able to do!  Only her knee got in the way.  It had started to tear in the summer and decided to complete the tear on Dec 17, while in a one-day competition.  Dec 18 was the Dew tour comp.

She had to come home.  As she was coming home from Colorado to New Hampshire, she and I independently realized that if she were to stay at home- even with the most awesome of all home school projects that we could think of- she would go crazy and I would go more crazy trying to keep her from going crazy.  It would be an utter disaster.

We knew not only would she need rehab and to utilize her brain, she would desperately need to get out of the house for a purpose with a time commitment every day.

Luckily for us Plymouth State University is just down the road.

On Monday Dec 20, before even going to see the Doctor, we headed to Plymouth.  We were able to rather easily enroll her in the Frost School with classes beginning Jan. 3.  One class was in person five days a week, the other online.  Whew, that would take care of brain stimulation and having to get out of the house everyday in January.

Tuesday Dec 22 we headed over to Dartmouth-Hitchcock to see Dr. Carr, get the MRI done, and start prehab physical therapy with Steve Vincente.

The call came the next day with the results slightly worse than predicted.  Her ACL was torn and there was some meniscus tear as well.  Neither of us was prepared for that part.

We were able to get through all the Christmas festivities with joy and laughter.  Prehab was off to a great start- the swelling going way down and the range of motion going way up.

On Dec 31, she received her invite to the X Games.  Needless to say, we were all stunned by the bittersweet accomplishment.  She cried- no she sobbed.  Everyone we have told has had the same reaction- An initial total wow that slides into OMG she can’t go realization.

Strange, but it really helps to have that reaction.  To know that even for our friends this is really a terrible blow.

So we seemed to be on the right road to physical and mental health.

BUT

There is another aspect of being the mom of an injured-healing athlete.  That is the range of emotions going on in her- from confidence to panic to depression to loss of sense of self to giddy relief.  These happen in minutes of each other.

Knowing that all these reactions are all normal should help, but even for me I’m having a real hard time with the cross part.  It might be easier if my daughter were a cross person by nature, but luckily for her, she is about as happy and upbeat as they come.  This cross thing is really alien to her.  And to me!

So what did I do?  I got cross back.  I know I “Should” have been understanding, encouraging her to let out her feelings, helping her to get past this.  But guess what?  She was expressing her “cross” at me.  And I’m really just an emotional mama like any other mama; only I’m supposed to know better.

Of course we did a have “nice” talk with all apologies given and accepted.  And I do think it was from our hearts.

But still there was this lingering in me.

Well, what could I do?  I called my sister to let my anger out.  Then Steve, the physical therapist, called.  And just happened to want to be sure that not only was my daughter doing fine with her workouts and emotionally as well, BUT that I was OK too. He talked with me and told me everything I knew.

I’m the one and only person she will feel close enough to be cross with.  I’m the one and only person she will really cry with.  She’ll be great with her doctor, with her nurses, with her PT, with her coaches, with everyone else.  EXCEPT me.  I’m the one and only person she trusts more than anybody else.  All her emotions are her gift of love to me.  There is no getting around it.  It’s tough.  But its worth being loved that much.

And I’m lucky to be able to love her back just as much.  Yep, it’s tough.  She’s tough as nails.  You don’t’ be come a world champion at anything unless you are. And to be her mom I have to be soft as a feather pillow for her and at the same time the board she needs to hammer her nails into right now.

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I guess the in next few months articles will be interspersed with how we get on with her recovery, as well as what is happening with my other daughters. And some just-life-in-general ideas and thoughts from a mom whose daughters are all athletes.

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How Girls Still Hold Back In Sports?

December 3, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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From the Women’s Sports Foundation- It’s not very often that you see boys storming the court in celebration of a girl’s basketball win. Watch what happens when an amazing buzzer-beater shot is made and the age-old boys’ sports versus girls’ sports argument is quickly forgotten. We are loving this! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5GFkdTFz0M

One of the things that gets me is that there is still plenty who think boys sports are more interesting, dynamic, action oriented than girls sports. What do you think?

I spend tons of time watching girls’ sports. And tons of time watching coed sports, but not all that much time watching all boy sports. And here’s the thing. I really find the excitement and level of action in the all girls’ sports to be equal to what happens with the coed sports.

I don’ t know about you, but when I watch my daughters’ teams I am very involved. I get very excited. And I know there is plenty of action. The girls’ teams are aggressive, excited, and ready to play with all their might. They play to win. Have you ever seen a girl’s team head out to have a “goody two shoes” time? And really and truly not care I f they win or loose? I haven’t.

I think one real difference is the attitude of our society. We have these underlying ideas and thoughts that girl’s sports are more subdued. That girls just are really less aggressive than boys. That girls aren’t strong enough to make it interesting.

Well- I’ll tell you one thing for sure. That is totally full of crap. Out of all my daughters, their friends (both boys and girls), I have never seen the girls sit back and let the game happen around them. They are totally involved. And the girls are doing just amazing things to be strong. Have you been to training for girls or coed teams lately? All I can say is that it’s about equal or maybe even tilted to the girl’s side for fitness training. These girls are STRONG nowadays.

But what about aggression? Where do the girls stand with aggression? I have to say that I see the girls hold back here. And no wonder. I’ve worked with kids (boys and girls) from two up and their parents on all kids of behavioral and life situations. – Remember I was an ordinary pre-school teacher, so it’s not about kids with issues.

It’s important that you heard (read) me say that I think girls hold back with aggression. Here’s the thing, from the time girls are two they are taught by just about every socializing environment that exists to hold back aggressively. Yet boys are expected, permitted, encouraged to be aggressive.

Aggressive is not only about hurting or punching someone else. It’s also used to characterize someone who exhibits determination, energy, and initiative. (Encarta World English Dictionary) Unfortunately, this second part of being aggressive gets held back in girls, as well as holding back the readiness and tendency to attack or do harm to others.

You know- Girls don’t do that.

I have seen hundreds of boys be aggressive in the do harm to others way. They do get reprimanded, but there is still this belief that their behavior is just what boys do- and eventually they will grow out of it.

But when a girl has that kind of aggressive action people respond completely differently. It’s a fit. It’s horrible. It’s absolutely not accepted. I know when Jilly attacked her sister -in public no less- two weeks ago, everyone was horrified. They really couldn’t decide how to react. I asked myself, “If this were two boys what would anyone do?”

Well there would be some reprimanding, but not too much. It would just be shrugged off. And of course everyone would have thought that Jamie deserved it anyway. It’s brothers fighting the way brothers fight.

But the problem is that since there are two kinds of aggression they are linked. And by holding the girls back I one form of aggression they are held back in the other.

I’m not advocating to set girls up to be attacking and aggressive. I’m thinking maybe girls need to be expected to be attacking aggressive the same as boys.

I know its way off for me, cause I really hate attacking aggressive, but maybe if we equaled out that part of bringing up boys and girls then when they lived their lives the girls would have the same aggressive determination, energy and initiative as boys in sports.

Mom’s Job When Kid Is Named Captain

November 30, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Posted in moms, Moms of talented teens, peer pressure, Self Esteem, sports | 2 Comments
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She’s the captain of her ice hockey team at ten!  What an honor and accomplishment.  She called all her relatives as soon as she found out.

What about me, her mom?  How do I react to this?  What is my responsibility?  What do I do about her sisters?  None of them were ever captains in any sport.

Of course there’s a bit of history here.  Jilly was invited to play up for the peewee team, not based on skills but more because the team needed a few more players.  I told the coaches of both teams I would decide which team based soley on what I thought was most important for my child.   I would not, under any circumstances, put my daughter on a team just to make it happen.

Of course Jilly was all swaggery when she got the news. She was oh so cool!  She was going to play up.   But the moment I had her alone in the car the first thing I said was, “I alone will make thie decision based on what is best for you.  I’ll listen to your ideas, but you will not make the decision.  I think at ten you’re too young to figure this all out.”

Since we already have a great relationship based on trust and respect she knew I was going to do what was best for her, not what was seem by others as cool or being above others. Cause what they think just doesn’t matter!

It was clear to me that giving Jilly another year as a squirt would give her more time to get basic skills, she loved working with the coaches of squirts, and she could really use a year as being one of the best.  Even if she didn’t have all her sisters with all their accomplishments, it’s so important to have a time when you are the best.  When the others look up to you. When you can help out and be a leader.

So squirts it was.  Until I heard from Jilly that they, the kids, would be picking captains the next week.  Then my head reeled. I’d been through this too many times.  Captains at ten chosen by teammates has had more negative effect than no captains.  My personal opinion is to have captains for each week.  They lead the warm ups for practices and game, shake hands with the refs, lead the pregame cheer, and lead the hand slap at the end of the game.  It’s a learning experience for each kid.

But to be captain for the season- now that’s a true honor and responsibility.  One not to be given hastily or lightly. One that most nine and ten year olds just don’t have the capacity to truly understand.  If there are going to be captains, the coaches need to be very able to choose based on the true value of the player, with complete open minds.

I talked with the coaches.  Explained my personal concern about kids choosing their captains.  And then dropped the bomb. I told the coaches that I couldn’t let Jilly participate if the captains were chosen by the teammates.  They nodded, said, “Hmmm, hadn’t really thought about that.”  Then I never mentioned captains again to the coaches or Jilly.

This past weekend was the third weekend of games.  I could tell the moment I saw the team come out of the locker room that Jilly had been chosen captain.  She had this look of control and determination on her face. She was in charge and going to make it happen!

I was certain when she and another player went over to the refs and shook hands.  And guess what – me who opposed captains- had a SURGE of pride.  That was my little girl who was captain.  And I truly believe she deserved to be chosen captain.

So what is my responsibility?  Isn’t that what I’m supposed to be writing about?  Well my responsibility is to help Jilly understand the honor and responsibility of being chosen captain.  That being captain is partly about being a great player, but more importantly about being a leader. About the team moral and focus.  It’s about good sportsmanship, paying attention to the coaches, guiding the other kids to do their best. When the game is tough and they are loosing it’s about keeping the spirit up and still trying their hardest.

Being captain doesn’t mean to fake energy or excitement.  It doesn’t mean to suck up to the coaches.  It means to have pride, respect, and leadership.  Being a skilled player helps, but it’s not what a captain is all about.  Even Mia Hamm or Kristine Lilly weren’t the captains of the US soccer team.

No more trying! Its time to DO.

November 5, 2010 at 9:35 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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It’s been a long journey- Over seven hundred miles on my feet running; Countless hours of stretching, strengthening, yoga, Zumba, Pilates; Even more unaccountable hours of mental preparation.

And now its down to one more gentle run today, some core, lots of stretching and of course lots of hydration and eating just the right foods! And Sunday I run the New York Marathon.

I have learned and grown so much from this journey. When I ran in my youth I just loved it. There were so few demands on my time. Oh yes, I went to school and worked and lived off campus. I was busy for sure. But if I skipped a meal, didn’t pay a bill, ate junk, stayed up late partying or studying, it only affected me.

Now of course not paying bills isn’t even an option. I can’t skip meals because my kids get the hungry horrors if I do. My life is very connected with the well being of my family.

But beyond all this, I learned once again to follow my heart, my passion, my purpose. And to do it all with integrity.

Since my freak accident, four years ago, I have been trying to do things, trying to get a business up and running, trying to be involved with issues of personal importance, trying to live the life I dreamed of.

Only thing was I was trying. And that is NOT doing. I really struggled along with this. Except in one place and that was being a mother.

Now I LOVE being a mother, but my kids are older, we all need less of my mothering. SO not only was I struggling at trying to do something I was also doing less.

I was really frustrated and stifled. I sent out intentions to have something come into my life that would rejuvenate me AND let me bring a positive energy to others. All my life I have been passionate about the inequalities that girls and women accept and place on themselves, especially about their physical abilities.

And the very day after my physical therapist cleared me to do anything, “Maybe even run a marathon” I was asked if I wanted to run the NYC marathon for the Women’s Sports Foundation. Its nto an easy task to train from scratch, to engage and solicite funds, to educate others about the Women’s Sports Foundation and to do everything else that needed to be done.

But I’ve been doing it. And Sunday I get to run with 45,000 other amazing individuals as we tour the city of New York. Celebrating our successes.

Thanks to each and everyone of you for your support and encouragement! I could not have done this alone!

Although the marathon marks the end of this particular journey, my work for the Women’s Sports Foundation has really just begun.

No need to worry I won’t be hounding you for your dollars. I will continue “Talking with Top Female Athletes” and I will be doing events- Zumba, school and team sports programs, individual fitness and empowering coaching, and who knows what else

So what have I learned? To enjoy my life for what it is. Not to TRY and make it be something. I will continue my lifestyle as I want, support all those who I can, and always DO. No more trying- that just bogs you down. Holds you still and gets you stuck.

Is happiness out of our reach?

June 6, 2010 at 5:40 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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“Happiness is something that comes into our lives through doors we don’t even remember leaving open. ” Rose Wilder Lane

You can join me each week for a tele-class on effective leadership and success- My personal focus is for young female athletes and their parents, but if you are interested in your own needs of leadership and success, parenting, and empowerment then you better get on board!.
You will learn my secrets of happiness and endurance on and off the running road,
You will learn about

• Nutrition in a totally fun and easy way to maintain healthy eating
• Social norms and how to handle them
• How to call your inner strength to be your ally rather than your enemy
• Affirmations
• Personal training
• Low self-esteem and how to channel that negative talk into positive self-esteem
• Why is self confidence so hard to have and how to build your self confidence
• Body image- how to be comfortable and strong in your body
• Girls sports
• Parenting

And that list will keep growing to cover a totally new you. And who better to help you on your journey, but me- why? Cause I’m one step ahead of you.

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