Friday, February 27, 2015

Seeing Both Sides as a Basketball Mom

You know what I consider a big positive about this 24-hour news cycle?

What may seem like the end of the world one minute, will be quickly replaced by the next earth-shattering story.

A big negative? The scary reality of video, the replay button, and the need to feed the beast.

You've likely seen by now what happened after the Vanderbilt-Tennessee basketball game last night. After a tremendous win, Vandy Coach Kevin Stallings ran straight into that media fire. Today he profusely apologized for the obscenity-laden correction of his player's reported unsportsmanlike behavior. Hopefully, it's a learning lesson for everyone. Heck, watch any episode of Dr. Phil, and you'll see that losing it--for whatever reason--never looks good on tape.

Some of you reading this remain shocked to see a coach yell like that.

I know I used to be. And I stayed that way for years. (For the record, I still believe coaches can rise above dropping F bombs and taking God's name in vain.)

But then my kids got seriously into sports.

And now, I get it.

Boy, is it a good thing I married Frank. He's helped me understand the other side. That people are different.

If I had raised my kids on my own, I may have encouraged them to quit when the going got tough.
I may have over-reacted when I heard an adult use bad language or even raise their voice at someone's child.
I would have likely scheduled dozens of meetings with school administrators and teachers, admonishing them for destroying my child's self-esteem.

Basically, my sensitivity and need to protect their psyches may have really screwed them up!

What I have learned as the mother of athletes is that compassion does not fly in the heat of battle.
Military folks know this too. They're used to this kind of coaching/leadership style.

So for all of you who struggle with a coach yelling at your kid, whether in high school, the YMCA, or college athletics, I certainly get it. I wish they would only encourage, hug our kids, and treat them kindly!

But I have also learned there is a place for the opposite. I've learned our children are smarter and tougher than we think. And experiencing different personality styles may prepare them well for some difficult situations--and people--down the road of life.

Which brings us back to the 24-hour news cycle and how similar it is to sports.

Both require you to move on quickly from the last breaking news story or big game.

It happens, you accept it, and you either suffer the consequences or delight in victory and celebrity.

And then you move forward.

If only heartbreak could be so speedy!


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Lunch with Reba

Here's something cool about living in Nashville: Reba pops in and sings at your Saturday fundraising luncheon.

Before this ridiculous ice storm rolled into town, a long-lost college friend invited me to her inaugural Valentine's Day luncheon.

It was Cheryl Davis' first major event since joining the Nashville Rescue Mission, a non-profit doing a tremendous job helping and rehabilitating the homeless and others in need.

Sure enough, Reba McEntire marched out on stage, sang a few songs, and held the whole room in the palm of her hand--all to honor the tables full of female graduates of the Mission's Life Recovery program.

It was a most meaningful way to celebrate Valentine's Day and brought many of us to tears.

I especially enjoyed a conversation with one of the young women seated at my table.

She was a Vanderbilt graduate and a co-believer in the liberal arts education our university (and others like it) provides students.

We both shared appreciation of the extensive, core class requirements. Sure, they may have been a pain in the butt at the time, but exposure to such fascinating and brain-expanding subjects is what education should be all about in the first place.

The conversation reminded me of this one below, which my former Dallas colleague and I taped long before I ever considered returning to Nashville. (Gina Miller, how this makes me miss our Real Botox Diaries!)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Mean Girls Suck

First, this post is NOT about me. Yes, I've experienced mean girls several times in my past. Just not in this particular season.

I am posting this amended version of some past thoughts, because several conversations with others in recent months have inspired me to do so.

So whomever this is meant for, I hope it helps. 

Have a "mean girl" in your life? Get to know her story. Or cut your losses and leave.

Empathy is the great equalizer. It is hard to be jealous of or angry with someone who is struggling, hurting, or being treated unfairly. You will understand how to love mean girls (and boys) and overcome their ugliness when you seek out the "why" behind their actions.

With that said, mean girls can sometimes grow up to become mean women. When you encounter a mean woman--and especially if she is in charge--one of you may have to leave. And unless God or karma intervenes first, it will likely be you. The nice girl. 

This is extremely painful, and it may require that you leave something you absolutely love and/or people you adore. But unless mean girl gets fired or does something to completely tarnish her reputation, you may be absolutely stuck and suffer deeply and intensely trying to take the high road tolerating the mean girl. It may chip away at your self-worth. It may take you down a dark and dangerous path of being victimized in other areas of your life. It can cause PTSD or other life-long, emotional effects. 

Girl, it's not worth it. 

Sometimes you need to cut your losses, take your ball, and go play on someone else's court. Give yourself a fresh start. A clean slate. Embrace a new leader or boss who believes in you and allows you to shine. Some of us, especially us nice girls, are emboldened, strengthened by and flourish around people who believe in us. Their faith in us makes us stronger. It's like new, romantic love--it makes you feel invincible. The sky becomes the limit. Our confidence soars through the roof. Success follows.

Remember, mean girls are usually jealous; somehow, some way you make them feel inferior. Or perhaps you represent their unrealized goals and dreams. Or you've been given a greater gift or talent in an area they deeply desire and/or envy. So they choose to punish you for it, for as long as you choose to work with/for them.

Life is not fair. 

But I'm not sure it ever feels *more* unfair then when you're forced to exist for an extended period of time alongside a mean girl.

Monday, February 2, 2015

"Live from Nashville, It's..."

When's the last time you printed actual photos that you can touch, feel, and retrieve in 10  years when you can't find a thing in your phone or on Facebook?

With only two short years left of college basketball memories, I realized I had better go old-school and get some pictures printed, enlarged, and framed before this precious phase is all over. 

I also decided to get off my derriere and save a few clips of my first day on-air here in Nashville.

Check out this warm welcome from my classy co-workers, whom I've grown quite fond of over these last four months, I might add:

You know what else is cool?  This beautiful blonde Jennifer, is also my neighbor! We literally moved next door to each other, unbeknownst to us both at the time.

I am still in transition, but I'm trying to count my blessings and focus on all of the *good* change can bring. Bought this for my cute cubicle, in fact. Hope it helps you focus, too.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

I'm An Addict

I'm an addict. I binge on fun.

Broadway shows & girlfriend trips. Concerts & coffee. Happy hours & Home Goods.

Once I get a taste of joy, I only want more.

But lately, these pleasures have lost their allure.

And I believe I now understand why.

I often binge on books, too. So in the interest of full disclosure, this latest revelation came via a new-found philosophical nugget, Fulton Sheen's 78-page paperback called "Finding True Happiness." A lady passed it out at Christmas mass at the Cathedral here in Nashville.

Sheen asserts that pleasure is best enjoyed when it comes to us as a "treat," in contrast to experiences that are less pleasurable.

This makes a whole lot of sense to me. Sheen writes, "Self-discipline brings back to us the excitement of our childhood, when our pleasures were rationed--when we got our dessert at the end of the meal and never at the start." (Unless you take the kids to the Cheesecake Factory. I always had us order the cheesecake first. Isn't that the reason you're there in the first place? Why waste money on 3 meals you'll be too sick to your stomach to finish?)

Sheen's second law: Pleasure is enhanced when it has survived a moment of tedium or pain.

My daughter says her Coach Sherri Coale preaches this all the time. We must keep going at anything we do until we get our second wind. This also makes sense, although feeling despair, heartache, and regret truly HURTS. Does it make us stronger in the end? I sure as heck hope so. But the whole process stinks.

Sheen's third law: Pleasure is a by-product, not a goal. "Many people forget that pleasure comes only from the fulfillment of a duty or obedience to a law--for man is made to obey the laws of his own nature as inescapably as he must obey the law of gravity."

This is likely why my girlfriend said after leaving her day job, she had lost anticipation about an upcoming trip to Paris: "Vacations are more rewarding when you have something to vacate from!"

Again, I'm not a fan of martyrdom and self-denial. Sacrificing is NOT easy. I'll readily admit, it's been the most difficult part of my recent move to Nashville.

But I know it's good for us. Every moment of every day can't be the grand finale. Otherwise, the grand finale would be ordinary. The thrill of a major comeback in double overtime wouldn't be as thrilling without the lows of being down at the half.

Pleasure is best enjoyed in contrast to experiences that are less pleasurable.

Hope this helps you appreciate the pain --and the pleasures-- of 2015!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veteran's Day Tribute to My BFF, the Colonel

Some of us have generations of relatives who've served in the military.

Some of us have a friend or two whom we've met on their multiple moves across the country.

My extremely limited exposure to military life is through a girlfriend I've known since age 14.

High school pals Lisa, Tricia, & Tracy

She is super cool. Super strong. The absolute greatest daughter on the planet. And she is one of the best friends a girl could ever have.

Her name is Tricia York, a colonel in the U.S. Air Force.

Tricia's Big Promotion--pinned a Colonel!

Tricia taught me what it meant to work hard for everything you have. In 9th grade Tricia would take the bus home with me after school and walk to work in her swaggy, green polyester Publix uniform. Her mom would pick her up at closing time.

My childhood Carrollwood Village home in Tampa, Florida

We still laugh about the ham sandwiches we would eat together in my kitchen. We also laugh at how hot we thought we looked before the Rick Springfield concert.

Hot stuff, baby

It was a total thrill to send her a signed copy of Rick's book on her 40-ish birthday.

Tricia did R.O.T.C. to pay her way through college. I remember how excited she was to finally get braces as an adult member of the military. And I loved visiting Tricia when she was stationed in Germany.

Throughout our 30-plus year friendship, we've connected multiple times in Florida, Colorado, and on a crazy fun Germany & France trip with another high school girlfriend.

The greatness that is nutella & banana crepes

The laughs never stop when I'm with Tricia.

We've shed a few tears too, like when my mama died. Tricia and her mother came to see my skeletal Marilyn to say goodbye. That took guts. Trust me.

I learned how to be a more caring daughter because of Tricia and the beautiful relationship she has with her own mom.

Just a few months ago, Tricia made Colonel.

Sibling Colonels John and Tricia York

So did her big brother, John. Kudos to this intelligent, fearless, fighter pilot. John has seen things nobody should, has risked his life in the most most terrifying scenarios. I will personally forever thank John for opening my eyes to a Disneyland in Tokyo, where I eventually got to work and travel Asia. He and I also climbed Mt. Fuji together in Japan, where he saved me from hypothermia. Cool dude.

So on this Veteran's Day, I am teary and touched by the lifelong love, support, and friendship I've found in my favorite military members: the York siblings.

They are truly something. Something wonderful.

Something worth celebrating every day of the year.  

Monday, October 27, 2014

Where Have You Been, Tracy?

The blogging well's been running a little dry lately.

Time to prime the pump and give it a whirl.

I've been working in Nashville for 6 weeks now, almost a full month on-air.

And while I've experienced some serious ups and downs, I am happy to report I am definitely on the upswing.

There is something about a two-minute commute to work, a one-minute drive to Pilates, and a three-mile jaunt to the state's top shopping area that really puts a girl in a good mood. 

Couple that with a gorgeous wooded walking trail right across the street--and wonderful childhood friends to walk it with--and I have much to smile about.

Meeting up with the adorable Andrea from Dallas in Knoxville
On the work front, I feel like I'm growing again. Sinking my teeth into fresh topics in a community that truly cares about its local news. I feel enthusiastic and inspired.

Tailgate Tri-Deltas at Vanderbilt Reunion Weekend
I also feel nourished by the wonderful people all around me. 

Almost every weekend I've seen nearby family members and old friends. 

Keeneland with Luke, Frank, & Lucky Uncle John
in nearby Lexington, Kentucky

I've enjoyed coffee and cocktails with new co-workers.

Investigative Reporter
Kim Curth is the bomb!
The talented morning reporter Anne McCloy!

And boy, am I planning ahead to the upcoming basketball season!

Look out for Luke this season, folks!

My darling, athletic daughter, Nicole, off...
...and on the court!

I can't believe I'll get to see Luke play every home game--even during the week! Hallelujah!

My heart is leaping out of my chest just typing it.

But I must be honest: It's taken me several weeks--and lots of tears--to get here. 

Trust me. If you, too, are in the middle of major change, please know it WILL get better. 

Remember your reasons for change in the first place.

Keep the faith,  Whether you call it inner wisdom, a still, small voice, or your gut instinct--just TRUST. 

Your tears, too, will soon turn to joy.