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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The first basketball game

Last night we took the kiddos to their first ever basketball game.  And we didn't go because we have a desperate need to see basketball on a Monday night.  Nope, we went to see our niece cheerlead.

Yes, you read that right.  I went to a basketball game to watch a cheerleader.

(My former players and fellow coaches are groaning right now.)

I used to be a basketball coach.  For five years and 10 seasons.  Some of you are trying to do the math on that one.  Back in the old days, when girls and boys played basketball at different times, I coached girls basketball in the fall and boys in the winter.  It was awesome, really awesome.  I loved every minute of it.

We got the news that our beloved niece would be just 20 miles from THE FARM and would love it if we could come.  So come we did!  Kiddo1 was very excited, "I'm going to pack up all my toys and live with Cousin!"  And she meant it.  Although I did dissuade her from actually packing, she was pretty sure Cousin would let her live with her.

Hubby is not a sports guy.  At all.  But in an ironic twist of God-given ability, he is AMAZINGLY athletic.  Like do anything physical he ever wanted to athletic.  Like waterski and wakeboard and bowl and chuck square bales with ease athletic.  Having watched my share of athletes, he ranks at the top for natural athleticism.  Whereas, his wife ranks right near the bottom.  Seriously, very little athleticism here.  Plenty of passion, desire, and motivation...no athleticism.  My sister and brother were both college athletes on scholarship, proving once again that I am the black sheep of my family.

I tell you all that to tell you this.

We take our three kiddos who have never been to a basketball game and who don't really sit for even a 45 minute church service and we drive 20 miles getting more and more excited to see our cousin.

And when we get there, we don't see her.  For a whole half of the JV game.  The novelty of basketball lasts for about 3.2 minutes and then the kiddos are ready to run.  Just like the big kids on the shiny hardwood floor.  Hubby and I are outnumbered.  Thankfully, I had tucked some snack size m&ms into my purse in such an event that bribes distractions would be needed.  It worked!  For another 2.7 minutes.  Work in a trip to the bathroom for the big kids and we're only at the end of the third quarter.

There were let's-see-who-can-see-Cousin-first games, watch-and-see-if-he-makes-it games, cheering games, bouncing-on-knees-games.  Those morphed into warnings which worked well for Kiddo1 and 2...not at all for Kiddo3 who is firmly in the TESTING phase of almost-two-land.

Now we're in between games and times are tough.  There's nothing to see and a whole open gym floor not being used and "Could we please just go touch it???"  No.  Sit down and watch for your cousin.

Finally, in a crowd of purple and black clad young women is the wonder that is our niece.  We haven't seen her since the summer and boy have we missed her.  Kiddo1 screamed and leapt into her arms.  Kiddo2 danced around waiting for his hug.  Kiddo3 hid.  Hubby and I both hugged her as well.  Kiddo1 loved her pompoms and the bow in her hair.  All three kids waved and smiled every time Cousin looked over at us.

For two minutes.

Kiddo1 wanted to go stand with Cousin.  Kiddo2 wanted to go to, but he wanted to take the mask off of the mascot so he wasn't so scary.  Kiddo3 just wanted to run.

Time to employ distraction #2:  popcorn.  Three bags of popcorn and two bottles of water later, peace and serenity rained up there in the fifth row.  For a whole half of basketball, my children sat in a little line between their parents and swung their little feet and munched contentedly on their bags of popcorn.

Bliss.

But there is only so much popcorn toddler tummies can hold.  And we reached that point just into the third quarter.  The older two kiddos continued to sit pretty well.  Not Kiddo3.  We had fueled her with popcorn and water and she was ready to go!  {sigh}  There were lunges and grabs and extended hugs while sitting on laps.  Finally, Hubby took her out to the van for some running and fresh air and her bippy (pacifier).  This got us to the 4th quarter.  Almost there!

I won't give you the scamper by lunge account, but let's just say frustrations were high.  Particularly with ourselves because why did we think our kids could/would sit through a basketball game and a half.  I thought to myself, "No one else's kids are acting like this."  And then I looked around.  And there were no toddlers at the game.  None.

And that made me a little sad.  Not because I wanted to see someone else's children squirm and dance and attempt to flee to the shiny gym floor, but because there were no families enjoying basketball together.  Watching older kids.  Learning how to sit on a bleacher at a sporting event.

So while it was our first game and it didn't go particularly well, it won't be our last.  And our kids will learn how to sit.  Which means I'll be buying them each two bags of popcorn.

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