Tuesday, May 31, 2011

NBA Finals Energy!

From 1997-2005 I attended every NBA Finals game. I was an employee of the NBA and hosted a show called, "Inside Stuff". It was a dream job! I was there when Jordan won his last championship in 1998 and when Detroit beat the unbeatable LA Lakers in 2004. Over and over people have asked me, "What does a swimmer know about basketball?" My honest answer is, "I don't know the fundamentals and I will never be able identify "illegal D" but when I walk on the court for the NBA Finals, there is a very familiar vibe, one that I have felt many times only difference, I was on a pool deck."

That is what I LOVE about sports. When you get to your sports' greatest stage, it is all the same. Only difference between a gold medal moment and the NBA Championship is 6 extra games. We were 'one and done' where these guys have to come back and win 4 out of 7!

The energy is overwhelming. I would walk the floor before each game (that was part of my job...great job!). I would chit chat with various people and would take in the moment from the athletes perspective. I would watch each player as the National Anthem was being sung. I would notice the ones who couldn't keep still. The ones who were looking down or the ones who were looking up. Their focus was intense and I loved it! Some people crumble when the pressure is REALLY on and some people thrive. Championship moments bring out the guys who can take it and I love watching it.

I was just talking about it last night with a friend, the fact that we were so lucky to have been a part of the "Jordan Era NBA". It was so fun to watch him take over a game. It was an absolute thrill to cheer for him. But the game is still amazing and full of incredible talent....the big names in these Finals Dirk, Kidd, Lebron and Wade....and then, of course, there will always be some new heroes the ones that come off the bench to make the last second shot, like Steve Kerr... and that is what makes these sporting moments unforgettable. Game 1, bring it on!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A few extra seconds could mean the world.

Our daily lives are busy. Our schedules are overloaded. We are hurrying to school, from school, to activities and in the middle, trying to work. In the grand scheme of things, it is 18 solid hours of running around. But when you break it down, there are so many little moments to cherish within the big picture. My daughter reminded me of this very fact a few weeks ago.

This is how it went down. I came in from a morning full of meetings and errands to relieve my babysitter and take the kids to gymnastics. I ran in and immediately began happily yelling for Skye to get on her leotard. She came running from her room proudly holding some papers she had colored. I looked at it for a few seconds, gave her a big hug and then rushed her to get ready for gymnastics.

We were out of the house about 3 minutes later…rushing rushing rushing. The rest of the night was a lot of the same. "Hurry get in the car." "Hurry buckle your belts." "Everyone wash your hands." "Everyone sit down for dinner." "Finish your food!" "Hurry, upstairs for bed."

I put the kids to bed and as I was cleaning up around the house, I came upon the picture book that Skye was so very proud to give me. I flipped through the pages of beautiful flowers with sunshine all around and fun shapes with different colors. And then I turned it over and she had written the most special words in the world. The very words I would LOVE to hear a million times a day as they would never get old. "I LOVE MOMMY! I LOVE MOMMY! I LOVE MOMMY!"

I immediately went back into the kids' room and Skye was laying there with her eyes wide open. I walked over to her, leaned down and said I was sorry I didn't take the time to read the back of her book and that I LOVED it more than anything. Right then and there, my daughter reminded me to take a few extra seconds to notice the little things. A few extra seconds could lead to the greatest words in the world.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Choose You. A lesson from my dad.

In April last year, I wrote a blog about how my dad surprised me. I mean, SUPER CRAZY SURPRISED me. After 45 years of dedicating his life and his lungs to smoking, he quit cold turkey. We still don't know exactly what made the switch flip but we aren't complaining one bit. And I could not be more impressed.

I always believed that my dad could do it. He is a no bullshit kind of guy so if he decided he was going to do something, he would do it. The problem was that he didn't decide to do it and that fact frustrated me beyond belief. I gave him a hard time about his smoking for a solid 20 years. It wasn't until about 8 years ago that I gave up trying. It was a combo of not wanting to waste my breath and not wanting to think about it anymore….it was a bit heartbreaking to tell you the truth.

But now, it is time to celebrate. My dad has been a non-smoker for a whole year! A WHOLE YEAR! I don't hear his cough anymore….used to be able to track him down instantly by following the sound of his cough. He gets a physical every year without being reminded and just started working out with a trainer. He looks amazing….just turned 70! And, damn it, he took his health into his own hands! He Chose Him!

Choose You is a campaign by the American Cancer Society for the month of May. We all need to take our health seriously and get ourselves checked out. My dad's story should inspire people to take 30 seconds, call your doctor and get yourself a physical! Why wait another year. We can tell you to do it 1,000 times but at some point we will get frustrated and give up! Do it for yourself.

I speak from experience beyond my dad. My husband is a healthy 38 year old, 3-time Olympian. I believe he is healthy he believes he is healthy but let's be honest, we all get older. I like to believe we get better with age, like fine wine, but even fine wine has it's prime and is much better when it is given a little TLC. My husband is incapable of making appointments for his health. He admits this, with a chuckle, and doesn't know why. He can make appointments to play golf, for business meetings, to coach Skye's soccer team but he can't make an appointment to get his teeth cleaned. Busy, busy, busy.

Flossing, stretching, making Dr. appointments….all things we should do and they all take less than 5 minutes. Let's be honest, are we really THAT busy. Put it in your calendar and please, Choose You. Make you and your loved ones happy and stay healthy by staying on top of your health, just like my dad!

Monday, May 9, 2011

The best Mother's Day EVER!

It really was a magical 24 hours. Which was so very different from my first 4 Mother's Days. I know I haven't been at the mom game long but I can tell you that this year was special...it was different and I can tell you the reason why. This year everyone was happy...especially mommy! Happy mommy equals a happy family, right?!

My husband asked me on Thursday what I wanted to do for Mother's Day and I actually, for the first time, told him EXACTLY what I wanted to do. I didn't hint at something hoping he would fill in the blanks, I didn't say "oh, nothing" thinking he would have something up his sleeve. (because they generally don't...love um, but they don't) He said, "What do you want to do?" And I responded with this...

1. I want to go for a run.
2. I don't want to make or be in charge of a single meal.
3. I would like a yummy breakfast made by you (my husband).
4. I don't want to wash a single dish.
5. I would like a foot rub...nothing crazy...maybe 10 minutes of pure heaven.
6. I would like to go out to dinner without the kids.

I am telling you the truth when I say, he got every single one of the things on my Mommy's Day to do list. It was awesome. He listened to me and really genuinely pampered me for a day. And the kids caught onto it. He prepped them with the facts how the day was very special. All day long I was getting extra hugs and kisses from everyone...and he even helped them make me cards...a HUGE bonus! The husband got some extra credit points. And we remember that sh*#!

All day, he would ask me if I needed anything, if there were any changes to what I wanted and all I could say was, "This day is perfect!" I love being a mom everyday but yesterday was amazingly special. I soaked up every single second. My husband really got into it...and really got it! He listened to me...the greatest gift of all! And of course, the 10,000 kiddo hugs and kisses I got didn't hurt one bit! I hope everyone else had a magical day being loved or giving love!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Captivated by the news.

As a mom of 2 little ones with busy schedules, I rarely get a chance to sit down and watch the news...and by rarely I mean never. But last week, because I was traveling for work, I had a chance to watch the morning news and was captivated by some incredible and historic stories.

First of all, I knew that the location of where I was headed for work had just been hit hard by storms...but I had no idea that I was landing in one of the epicenters. Just 4 days before I arrived at The Embassy Suites in Bentonville, AR they had videotaped a tornado from the cameras on the roof of the building. YIKES! I have been in earthquakes, blizzard and hurricanes...but I had never seen a tornado and the idea of it freaked me out. What I learned the next morning was that the tornadoes that worried me had touched down a few states away and with a vengeance. I was glued to the "Today Show" emotionally drawn to both big stories of the morning...for very different reasons. My heart went out to all of the people in Tuscaloosa and the surrounding areas and I was incredibly intrigued and drawn into everything surrounding "The Royal Wedding".

I had lived in Tuscaloosa for a month before the 1996 Olympic Games. At that time, I had just gotten into running and ran throughout the entire state...or so it seemed. The town was awesome...great food, friendly people and an amazing University swim pool. It was in Tuscaloosa where I first learned what "sweet tea" was all about. As I watched the news and saw the devastation from the tornadoes, all those wonderful memories came back to me once again. Please help the people of Alabama any way you can.

Changing gears, the coverage of the "Royal Wedding" absolutely sucked me in. I was watching the TV, mouth open, just waiting for a hook! I didn't get up for the actual LIVE wedding but I did set my DVR and watched it first thing in the morning. I was so consumed by it that I actually had a tear in my eye as I said to my husband, "Princess Di would have been so proud of her son."....as if I really knew her. But, I think that is part of the reason why people loved her so much, you felt like you could be her friend. She seemed very real. I finally stopped checking in on the Royal Couple yesterday realizing I needed to give them their privacy and myself a reality check. :)

And then there was last night. Erik and I had gone to a movie, "Source Code" and when we stepped out and turned on our phones I was a bit freaked out. Twitter was all abuzz with "BREAKING NEWS" from President Obama. If you have seen "Source Code" then you know why my freak out was way more than a normal freak out. I learned, through Twitter, that US military had killed Osama bin Laden. And when we got home, we turned on CNN. Huge day in history that I have yet to wrap my feelings around. All I can say is that I had a true and honest moment of really thinking of and feeling for everyone affected by 9/11 and a huge sense of gratitude for our Armed Forces!

Over the past few days, I was reminded of the power of our media. We witnessed huge stories that will find their place in history. On April 27th Alabama was hit by some of the most severe tornadoes in history. We will all remember where we were and what we were doing when we watched Prince William and Kate Middleton walk down the aisle and I will remember the moment of coming out of the movie to learn that Osama had finally been killed. April 29 and May 1st...what were you doing?