I was born into a family of soccer enthusiasts. My uncles and grandfather were soccer coaches and players; my father was once a star high school soccer player and currently coaches soccer and other sports at an elementary school. As for me, I am not a soccer player. At a young age, my father consistently tried to get my sisters and me to try soccer and would put us in scrimmage games with my uncle’s women’s soccer team and it was terrifying. I was always afraid to get kicked in the shins and I wasn’t a big fan of the running back and forth. Go figure. Although my sisters and I were raised by a single dad, we weren’t very athletic or sporty but we did try a few sports. My middle sister joined the swim team and played softball in high school – she was fairly good. At the age of 13 I grew an obsession with basketball and the Chicago Bulls. My father was ecstatic. For years we went to the local basketball court to play a few games with the boys in the neighborhood. I quickly learned how to dribble a ball and I even learned how to shoot my father’s signature hook shot. At 4 foot 11, I’m sure it came to a surprise that I wanted to play varsity basketball. In the neighborhood I was a pretty decent player. I loved playing with the boys – they didn’t take it easy on me but I felt respected on the court. However, there was one guy in particular that I didn’t quite fancy and was a total ball hog. He was the only male I didn’t enjoy playing against or with on the court. Ironically, I married the guy – yup, that is how I met the hubby, on the basketball court.
Anyway, sports have always connected our family. During my junior year in high school, I joined the varsity basketball team. I was horrible. I was so bad that we only had 6 girls on the team and guess who was benched? But you know what? I loved to play. During this time, my father had lost his job due to a back injury. He was unemployed for most of my high school years – but it was during this time that we mostly bonded. He attended all of my basketball games, screamed at me on the court, made me nervous, but it was great. After my games, I would go home and we all ate dinner (junk food mostly) as we watched a Chicago Bulls game. Those were the days.
Fast forward. My father and step mom had a little boy just as I was finishing up college and ready to move on with my adult life. This little bundle of joy has brought all of us so much happiness and my sisters and I couldn’t ask for more from a little brother. He is now 17 years old and will be starting college in the fall. Interestingly, he wants to study sports communications. Go figure! He is obsessed with the Chicago Bulls and loves to listen to sports radio. He even has his own stats book. We are clearly related.
I have found that sports have been instrumental in connecting and bonding our family. This is something I never actually realized or thought of. I have developed such an interest in going to sporting events and I think it is because it brings so many great memories. Funny enough, one of my first dates with Juan was a Cubs game. Yes, he is one of the biggest Cubs fans that I know. I was never a baseball fan in general, but now I find myself understanding the sport and getting excited to go to a game. This has definitely added more layers of bonding .
I’m not the best at it, but I always try my best to find time for family. I believe in work, life, and harmony. For the past few months it has been great attending some sporting events with my dad, my brother and the hubby.