I took the kids to a charity dodgeball game last night to help raise money for Jacob's Well. I love my cousin Mark, and his heart for the people of Lincoln. We had a great time watching the game, eating snacks, and being around some of our favorite people.
Here is the whole crew: my five, our nephew Drew, Ry's friend Ian, and a little boy I babysit during the week. My grandpa (Papa) is on the left, probably sitting there trying to figure out how to change seats once we all showed up :) The kids were excited to watch the Husker athletes compete, and wore their Husker gear! Rugger even got his hat signed by someone, we're still not exactly sure who it was or which sport he plays.
The snacks were a huge hit. I think I made at least four trips to the concession stand and spent $20 on items all under a buck each. The kids were in heaven: rice krispie treats, popcorn, bottled water, cookies, nachos...it was a free for all. The concessions ladies taped up a Mt. Dew box for me to carry all the goodies in. I'm sure it looked hilarious! My friend Chei had a mini-Sharpie in her bag and marked the kids' popcorn bags with their names. GENIUS!
Are my grandparents not the sweetest couple you ever saw? I LOVE them, love that they haul themselves out late on a Friday night to sit in a loud, crowded gym, eat popcorn and LAUGH together.
We spent a few days making signs for our favorite dodgeballers, my uncle Bill and my boss Rusty. I'm pretty sure they never saw us holding these signs, they were so focused!
Notice the Mt. Dew box!
My in-laws showed up and made my night a LOT easier. They are wonderful and so generous with their time. We got to the gym about an hour early, and by round #3 Rowen was done sitting in those bleachers! I couldn't keep him quiet or still with food or drinks any longer, and he ended up running the halls with Grandma Sue.
My kids were overtired, overfed, dirty, and NOT ready for sleep when we got home about two hours past their bedtime. We washed up, got our PJ's on, and hung out in my bed for awhile to watch the 10o'clock news, which was pretty exciting!
We had so much fun, and I loved watching those big men jump and hop around the gym floor trying to dodge the balls that were hurled in their direction! It was very entertaining...but I had a heavy heart all evening, thinking about some good friends and some really unsettling events that have occurred in their lives recently. I got to thinking later about all the "balls" we try to dodge, day in and day out. And how, you can't dodge forever. Eventually you either catch the ball and keep going, or you get hit.
Getting hit is hard. It's never easy, that walk off the court to the bench...head down...defeated. It hurts, and it's no fun to have to sit on the sidelines waiting for the round to be over so you can play again. Sometimes we need to sit out though, to take a breather, gain some perspective, recharge for the next game. It's disappointing, embarrassing, and some of us would just as soon not play than risk getting hit.
Catching the ball is easier on the ego, initially. There's a little victory in making that catch and then making eye contact with whoever threw it, knowing they're headed out. It feels good, and you're still in the game. But, for how long? Make enough catches, and hit enough opponents, and eventually you're the last guy standing there. It's a lot of pressure, your team is watching, waiting, knowing eventually someone will take you out.
It's a crazy game of life we play. We win a round or two, and life is great. We get hit a time or two, and it takes everything we've got to haul ourselves back out there. It's important that we do play. Take an active role in our lives and try for a few catches, throw a few balls. It's risky, it doesn't always result in a win, and it's hard work sometimes. But, you have to play. You can't dodge forever...