Thursday, September 22, 2016

Parent Sideline Guidelines

Lets be clear here, "Soda? or Candy?"
Yes, you read that correctly and I just can't hold back my excitement.  Each year we receive this email and I LOVE IT!  This organization, that we, as a family, have had the pleasure to be a part of for many years (4 Kids remember!) emails a kind reminder of what is expected from parents as spectators in this organization.  Now every sport is different, absolutely, but when it comes to being a spectator at any sport, chairs or bleachers, you need to remember...
if you are in the stands, you are the players biggest fan!  

Julia scored her 1st Goal!
You are not at that particular game, regardless of what sport it is, to judge, ridicule, complain, moan out loud, or scream at the other players, either team, or even your own child. I have seen coaches spend endless hours on organizing tournaments, communicating with parents, putting a team plan in action and doing the best they can while teaching and growing their team the best way possible. Some parents are the best AND worse advocate for their child. Everyone usually notices which one you are before you.   Sidenote: I have also noticed maybe one or two coaches forgetting about the team and revolving everything around their OWN child.  TEAM means you coach a TEAM.  There are other "individual" sports that you and, oh yeah, your child may be better off taking advantage of IF this is you.  It's still not too late to chase your own dreams while you let your child chase theirs.

David bringing it home!
So putting that aside and on one more note, we have had some amazing parents take the time to coach our children and are still very grateful for every single one of them.  The endless amount of time and fairness that you put into your team is forever appreciated, and it DOES take a village to raise a child.  As a coach, you are a huge part of that village, so THANK YOU!  

Cameron hitting it outta the park!
Ok, moving forward for real now, there is nothing more frustrating on a team sport than hearing the fans moan and yell out loud or under their breath to either team. Hopefully the players are already doing the best they can.  Most are already beating themselves up enough if they missed a play or other.  Put yourself out there, listening to your parents, complete embarrassment, right?! We are all our own worse critic.  Don't forget your one and only job when watching the game, is to enjoy the game and be THEIR BIGGEST FAN, save the coaching and teaching to the coaches! (& winning is EVERYTHING! hahaha!! Just Joking of course but it sure makes the game more fun!)

Richie keeping it real
Even when I see the kids have that "magical moment" on the field, the coach still takes that moment to make it a teaching lesson of how and what to do next time to be better.  That's WHY you have your child in the game, remember?!!  Its not fun when they stop learning.  Let the coaches do what they take the time away from their own families to do, COACH OUR KIDS! 

Ok, so enough chat, take the following "Parent Sideline Guidelines" from this organization, regardless of age it applies to, & for what it is just remember,  IF YOU ARE IN THE STANDS,  YOU BE THEIR BIGGEST FANS! I can't even pick a favorite to make sure you read, so just read all of it, I'm sure you'll agree with each one! 

**The following email was a kind reminder sent out to our family from the organization "The Moms" children partake in for the purpose of all moving forward in the season on the same note.  Organization is not mentioned for protection from the parents that don't understand all the above and still feel the need to, well, be the judge.**

Maximus loving the game
1.  There will be no criticism, name-calling, or threats made towards any of our players - your child, your child's teammate, an opponent.  NOBODY.  We can cheer and enjoy the game, but we will not put down, insult, degrade, or criticize any of our players.  After all, we are one team.  Despite that your child's team scores, you do not have permission to taunt, mock, or storm the field in celebration or retaliation of the fact that a 5-7 year old child managed to give up a score or score him/herself.  It also means that you don't automatically become the better parent/grandparent/etc. because your child's team scored.  We aren't winning any championships, and I'd like us all to behave as if we're all one team (because we are).
The LOVE of the game
2.  There will be no coaching from any parents during the middle of the game.  For a 5-7 year old, the game is difficult enough to comprehend (regardless if you think so or not), so extra voices only confuses and slows down our players' reactions.  Let's keep these distractions down to 1 voice, the coach.  You may cheer, but don't over-coach from the sideline.  If you'd like to volunteer to coach, that's another issue.  I can always use help during the week in training.  I can also use your coaching at home, but during games, the ears need to go to the coach.  Thank you!
3.  Your child must be to the game on time, and if asked, your child should be there so many minutes before the game starts.  Normally, it's a good idea to warm up a child before asking them to play a contact sport.  Getting there a minute beforehand only gives your child more of a chance to get hurt.  One more thing is that our coaches like to go over who is starting and plan for who can come in next.  Getting there late only ruins a coach's substitution plans and can drastically change what a game looks like.  So, if you're going to be late, be sure to notify the coach.
Maximus moving fast!
4.  Your child is not allowed to miss a training or game unless YOU have notified the coach before the training or game begins.  We do write up huge lesson plans which involve all of the kids, plan out an entire game of substitutions, and other aspects which get thrown in the trash when one player arrives late or misses.  Please take this into account as you plan for each game.
5.  There are no pets, smoking, and/or cursing on the sidelines.  Park rules dictate the first two.  Our children's ages dictate the last.  Let's be aware of who we are there for, the kids.  Let's be good role models for them.
6.  There are a few rules in which our coaches will try to teach our kids in a manageable way (handballs, heading, pushing, grabbing, obstruction, etc), but because they are 5-7, we will handle it differently than perhaps, we'd handle it with older children.  Allow our coaches to manage these difficult pieces.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

One Mom, One Mayor and One Unstoppable "Krew" for Kayla.


Every day, the world is changed by angels.  All different kinds of angels, some we see, some we may not, some that leave little reminders, and some that remind us what living life is all about.  As a Mom, we feel so blessed to call many of these angels, our children; the angels that put our lives in perspective, the angels that teach us kindness, patience, love.  The angels that test us on some days and melt our hearts another.  We never know reasons of why our life takes us where it does, but what we do know is our children, earths angels, are our personal trainers that complete us & assist us to be everything as moms, that we were meant to be.  

Thank you Mrs. Runte for your time to share your story & Mayor Steve Olson for going above and beyond...

Ms. Kayla
When I met Mrs. Shelley Runte, I believe she was an angel herself and had the love, patience, determination, and kindness that her beautiful daughter, Kayla, had as well.   When Kayla was born, she stopped breathing resulting in some brain damage once breath quickly returned.  Six months later, Kayla was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and Shelley knew her Kayla would not have the same abilities as other children.  Kayla may not have had the same abilities as others her age, but as a student at Ben Franklin Elementary, she had every opportunity to be a part of the community as any child there. These students were excited to be with her, to learn about her, help her, not judge in anyway and most of all consider her their friend. Kayla's silent expressions of sparkling blue eyes, a beautiful smile and a heart shining inside and out is what made these students want to be a part of her life.  A smile says a thousand words, and as Kayla was unable to verbally communicate with these caring friends, her non-verbals made her friends excited to be with Kayla and share her life together.  Her best friend, Jack, at such a young age, wanted to spend time and read with her every chance he had.  He still thinks of Kayla as his very special friend.

In August of 2012, at 8 yrs. old, Kayla earned her angel wings into heaven and the unimaginable turned Shelley’s physical world upside down.  Shelley and her family attended a 'bench dedication' in Kayla’s name to be remembered by all those that loved her so much from her Elementary School.  At this dedication is when Shelley saw a vision that only a determined mother can put into action four months later, after her daughter’s death, to keep Kayla's memory alive.

Mayor Steve, with The City of Franklin, saw the vision with Shelley.  This power duo brought together an entire community, impacting lives of all abilities for years to come and remembering Kayla’s strength, love and courage through it all.  Kayla's Krew was now in full effect.

What started at Ben Franklin Elementary that day at Kayla’s Bench Dedication was the spread of Kayla’s love and joy to her very own playground with all ability access for children to enjoy what may have been the impossible at other parks.  A simple swing on the swings, sliding down a slide that a child may have been unable to experience, or even a moment to take in the fresh air with a beautiful breezy ride on the merry-go-round.  The entire world is represented at this park as well as the entire Franklin Community.  A Wheelchair Swing from Australia, a Stainless Steel slide from Germany, a Merry Go Round that can fit two wheelchairs and a couple friends from Europe and people donating from all across the country as far as Hawaii.  Shelley brought hands together from all across the world, keeping her beautiful daughters spirit alive. 

Kayla’s Krew is made up of Kayla’s very own friends from school and over 2000 more helping hands that embraced her life and memory with all their hearts.  Kayla’s 5th grade class comes to the park to clean and keep “tidey” for others to enjoy.   The high school students in her community take part each year building the engraved pickets that outline the enclosed park.  These names are continually growing with monetary donations made.  Family names and local organizations are represented everywhere around this park as well as many of our favorite Dr. Seuss quotes that we all love (maybe even feel like a kid again!).  Pictures from friends were created to encourage one another and share the many memories of Kayla herself with notes and color photos. This park offers so much to so many that every family should experience it together.

Mrs. Runte with her crew!
School may have started but the beautiful weather is still here!  Please take the time to visit this amazing, magical place.  Shelley, Mayor Steve, and Kayla’s Krew made no excuse and overcame every “building” obstacle to make this vision come true.  Even when the park was vandalized during construction, Shelley still put her huge heart forward expressing her forgiveness to the vandals during a television interview, and inviting them to come back and use their creative energy towards a more productive goal and mission with the community.  WOW!

Thank you so much Mayor Steve and Ms. Shelley and Kayla’s Krew for taking the time to share this beautiful place with our family and interviewing with us to share Kayla’s Legacy with others!

So what are YOU waiting for?  Get out there, enjoy the beauty of the day & have the Kayla’s Playground Experience with you child that will last a lifetime! We know our sweet friend, Hudson, loved every bit of it with his friends! Learn more about Kayla’s Story and have Shelley talk with your group, school and /or organization about children with different abilities. Visit the following websites to make a donation or schedule your talk with Shelley today!