Dear Spartans,

Posted by on Jan 26, 2010 in Family Life, From My Perspective | 1 comment

So here’s the deal, Coach Izzo: You offended a lot of people with your passion yesterday. While I think you meant well and what you were trying to say may have been valid, I fear that a number of people are not hearing your true meaning.

How do you think Mateen Cleaves or Morris Peterson felt when they learned that they had no identity as Michigan State University National Basketball Champions? How do you think Chris Schaller, a former Michigan State University Lacrosse Player, felt when you claimed that his identity as a Spartan never existed, even prior to his sport being yanked out from beneath him as a result of Title IX? How do you think I felt, a former NCAA National Qualifying Spartan Gymnast who endured four shoulder surgeries in an effort to continue to compete for her school?

No matter what logo we had on our shirts, we knew who we were and what school we were representing. We never questioned our identity as Spartans. In some cases, we were more Spartans than we were people. We gave our heart and soul to Michigan State University. So, please, don’t shame us.

When I went home to my small town and wore my Block S Varsity letter jacket, I can promise you that everyone there knew I was a Spartan. Never once did I have to explain where I went to school. I was a Spartan, a Big Ten Athlete, and people were impressed with the reverence of the jacket.

I can promise you that when my husband, a former Spartan Soccer Player, and I write our annual donation check to Michigan State University, there is no confusion as to which school we are sending it to because of lack of identity.

I know this is not how you meant it. But, the fact of the matter is this is how it is being heard. This is why people are upset. At Michigan State University, we were taught to be winners. We were taught to preservere and endure. We were taught to take pride in ourselves, our teammates and in our school. We were Big Ten Spartan Student-Athletes because we were committed and coachable.

And right now we need to be coached. We need to be led. Inspire us to jump on board with the logo. Don’t bully us. Remind us that a logo doesn’t define us as Spartans. It is your heart that makes you a Spartan. It is your winning attitude that makes you a Spartan. It is your ability to overcome difficult obstacles gracefully that makes you a Spartan. It is your willingness to look past your own opinions in an effort to stand strong, united, and proud that makes you a Spartan. It is leading by example with strong, moral character no matter what the given scoreboard may read that makes you a Spartan. It is what is inside of you that determines whether or not you deserve to be identified as a Spartan, not the picture on the front of your shirt.

I am a Spartan. You could paint my shirt red and adopt a puppy as the new mascot. I would still be a Spartan. No one can take that away from me.

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Hmmmm…A Ha!

Posted by on Jan 25, 2010 in From My Perspective | 3 comments

The house is clean. The kids are in school. The dogs are sleeping. It is so quiet that I can hear the hum of the refrigerator. I actually have time to sit and write. I’m sure that if I thought, even for a second, that I could come up with something that needs to be done (like return the kids’ shoes to Nordstrom,) but instead I am opting to take some “me” time. Why is it that when you become a mother, you can’t do this without feeling guilty? Is it a good thing or a bad thing? I can’t quite decide.

I love it that I no longer crave a mid-day nap. Yet, that used to be my favorite indulgence. I appreciate that my house tends to be very tidy. Yet, I used to take pride in the fact that I could let myself relax even if it wasn’t. Now I can only unwind if everything is put away and order is restored. We used to eat out, pick up or order in all the time. Now that seems like chaos and, instead, cooking (and cleaning up after) seems easier. I used to wish the evenings away so that we could put the kids to bed. Now, I glance at the clock and wonder where the night went? With all the extra-curriculars and homework, it seems like the kids always go to bed late in exchange for some quality time together as a family.
I used to pray that one day our girls would learn how to talk. Now I find myself wondering if they’re ever going to stop? I used to want to keep every piece of artwork that the kids ever made. Now, I carefully pick and choose the masterpieces worth keeping and am forever sneaking the rest into the trash, b/c I would rather have less clutter. I used to complain that Craig didn’t talk enough. Now, I am impatient with his rambling and tell him to get to the point.
I used to wear high-heels whenever possible. Now, I wear flats whenever possible. Up until this year, I could down an entire bag of chips and dip and think I deserved it. Now I only eat a small amount at a time and have to suffer the lingering guilt. I used to kill every plant that ever got near me. Now, I have a green enough thumb that even my step-dad trusts me to babysit his plants for the winter.
I used to smother Tucker with attention and be frustrated that he wasn’t a lap-dog. Now, he is ignored most of the time and is by my side every moment of the day. My favorite past-time used to be mindless T.V. shows because I could turn my brain off and not have to think while I watched them. Now, those same T.V. shows make me restless. Instead, I prefer the sound of a quiet house and my computer because I like to hear myself think.
When I grew up, I hated living in a small town. Now, I sometimes find myself longing for the simplicity of little, old Edon. I used to avoid eating fish at all costs. I hated it. Now, I am training myself to tolerate it because I know it’s good for me. I used to be the loudest one at the party. Now, I prefer to sit back and let someone else wear that hat. I used to want to stand out. Now I like to blend in.
I used to like to argue. Really…I did. Because I knew I could win, and winning felt good. Words are a dangerous weapon of mine, and I don’t always use them fairly. But, now, arguing gives me a headache. I am much more willing to bite my tounge because I see no point in the battle. Even when it’s a battle worth fighting, I don’t usually feel proud of my victory because chances are: it wasn’t pretty.
It’s funny, isn’t it? How we change? How we grow? I had no idea where I was going with this blog when I started writing it. But now I get it. Just yesterday, I said to Craig: “You have lived with me for 9+ years now. How can you not know this about me?”
I can’t remember why I said it. It could have been for a number of reasons. Maybe he put his bowl on the top rack of the dishwasher, instead of the bottom rack like I prefer. Maybe he didn’t give Tucker fresh water when he fed him, like I prefer. Maybe he was joyfully singing at the top of his lungs in the morning, instead of being quiet and near-grumpy, like I prefer. Maybe he left only one pillow on the bed for me, instead of leaving me two, like I prefer.
Whatever the case, I am constantly evolving and changing. So, maybe I need to be more patient with him for “not knowing me” when it’s pretty obvious that I’m still figuring myself out, too.

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