Thursday, December 17, 2015

NYT's KJ Dell'Antonia's "In Youth Sports, Losing is for Champions"

I recently read a great article about youth sports via the Steve Nash Youth Basketball Blog.  I had to share as I could not agree more on this topic! New York Times Motherlode Blog writer, KJ Dell'Antonia's "In Youth Sports, Losing is for Champions" discusses the importance of enduring losses as young, developing athletes.  In her article, I can relate to the skier's recollection of persistent winning throughout her youth, only to eventually face the inevitable yet shocking loss any athlete must endure...."They were teaching me the lesson I taught them long ago. Sooner or later you'll get your butt kicked, so you'd better know how to deal with it.  I did not appreciate the lesson."

After hauling my older brother and sister to hockey and figure skating practices at frequent-yet-odd times throughout the week, my parents decided to try speed skating.  Although they were different ages and sexes, my brother and sister could both participate at the same practice.  (Any parent knows this is a logistical jackpot!!) From the age of 4, I followed them onto the ice and started competitively speed skating.  I was so little, my parents remember counting the strokes it took for me to make one lap around an outdoor rink in Cedar Rapids Iowa, and my count was 300 to the older pro's 20.... The wind was blowing so hard, it was two strokes forward, one step back...But I loved it. It was just very natural to me and I somehow learned the form at an early age (hence the Kardashian rear end I sport today, I suppose?)

Nevertheless, we had mixed-sex races by age, and I remember winning race after race.  I was the only girl in my age group and I never met a boy that I couldn't beat (at least locally).  Similar to the author skiing in borrowed boots, I recall having to race in embarrassing green corduroy pants, or someone else's skates because I didn't bring the right gear on occasion, and I still won. Granted, speed skating is a VERY small sport, so I am NOT claiming any sort of athletic grandeur here.  AND, we would travel to meets out of state, where there was plenty of competition.  I certainly did NOT win all of those races.   But, then one day in my early teens, a girl named Nikki Ziegelmeyer (silver and bronze medalist in '92 and '94 Olympics, respectively) joined our team (from an indoor inline skating team), and she kicked my butt.  It completely turned my world inside out.  That year, it became clear that I would have to quit all other sports/activities and possibly even move to a year-round training camp to stay competitive.  I stopped skating.  Luckily, I had several other sports and activities that I loved to keep me busy.  But, I absolutely recognize the importance for young athletes to experience BOTH wins and losses AS THEY PROGRESS, so they can continue to enjoy the sport, regardless of the outcome.

In my opinion, this is the key to longevity for the young athlete.  Clearly, everyone loves to win. Its fun to win! Nobody wants to lose.  Yet, I believe in an ideal world, a young athlete should experience both 50/50....Ok, Ok maybe 51 wins to 49 losses. You get the point.  Just enough to wins to keep them encouraged and boost their confidence, but just enough losses to keep it real.  When you have enough wins for encouragement, losing makes you hungry. Losing makes you tougher. Losing builds character.  Losing pushes you to take your game to the next level.  And enjoying the sport DESPITE the inevitable loss is key to longevity. ABC's Howard Cosell's iconic, "the thrill of the victory and the agony of defeat" are equally important in order to appreciate both sides. Because, as cliche as this sounds, that is life.  If kids can experience both and STILL enjoy the sport, its nirvana.  And when they enjoy the social aspects of their sports, this is icing on the cake.   As hard as it is to watch your kid's team lose, I believe that the more their successes are countered with some failures, the longer they will continue to play, grow, and enjoy the sport...Just think about all the inspirational sports movies and stories out there.  The winners always start their careers with PLENTY of losses.  Rocky, Karate Kid, Miracle, Hoosiers, Invincible, Coach Carter, We are Marshall, McFarland USA...You get the idea.  Ok, getting off my soapbox now! Happy sporting to you and your family!

Article is provided below....

In Youth Sports, Losing is for Champions

If you have a young hockey player, a skier, a hoops player or any other form of winter athlete, then you know it’s crunch time. “March madness” applies in more than just basketball. State tournaments are being played, state ski teams selected — and children (lots of them) are losing their last game or their last race of the year.
And as hard as it is, we parents should embrace, and even welcome, every single loss.
It’s the nature of the game (or the race, or the tournament) that there are more losers than winners. The former Olympic skier Edie Thys Morgan, who’s also a friend of mine, now coaches her two sons and a whole herd of other young skiers as they try for downhill glory. On her blog this month, she urges parents to give up on “secretly hoping for success every time.”
Ms. Thys knows that we know that “real progress is often a barely perceptible crawl,” and that we all want real success for our children in life, “not just a silly sporting event.” But she’s a parent, too, and she hears us, in our secret hearts — underneath all our outward insistence that winning isn’t everything — wishing our children could just “have the good days and put off the agony of defeat indefinitely, or at least until adulthood.”
I can say from experience that the fantasy of child stardom is not all it’s cracked up to be. The pros are, of course, an early sniff of glory and an instant endorphin hit of success. Up into my early teens I won every ski race I entered. I fell and got up, and won. My boots got stolen from the car so I borrowed a friend’s mother’s boots, and won. A big kid in ski boots stepped on my bare toes and broke them the day before a race, and the next day I won. You get the picture. Yay me.
But then one day, I didn’t win. And I kept not winning, like it was my new job, until it felt my world had crumbled. I had three close friends who resided solidly in my rear-view mirror during my young days of untrammeled fabulousness. All three of them scooted past me and made their ways onto the U.S. Ski Team while I ground my gears. They were teaching me the lesson I had taught them long ago: that sooner or later you’ll get your butt kicked, so you’d better know how to deal with it. I did not appreciate the lesson.
Ms. Thys dusted herself off and raced again, and again, and again, eventually to the 1988 and 1992 Olympic Games. Now she’s watching her own young racers, and wondering which ones will have that drive — to lose, and then get up and compete again. It’s that, far more than winning, that makes a person a success.
Her whole post is well worth a read: she considers talking kids through a disappointment, and how the laudable principle of “it’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game” can mask the value of disappointment, which “in itself isn’t such a bad thing. It means you have some skin in the game.”
From there, in this season of teams losing in the semifinals, kids falling in the last race and teams that never make the tournament at all, it’s a good plan to go on to consider the basketball player Mark Titus, who made the team at Ohio State and went on to spend four years warming the bench — which he turned into a successful blog, a book and a career as a sportswriter (he’s interviewed here for The Atlantic Monthly). Success, even in sports, doesn’t always look the way we think it will.
Most of our children won’t spend their lives in sports. Statistically, few will become professionals, or even play or compete in college. They’re destined for what those of us on the outside of sport might call the real world. And losing, as hard as it is on them (and on us), might just be better preparation for that.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Local Cleveland Jewelry Designer Anne Harrill of Oceanne Jewelry...

This morning when I picked up the Sunday 12/13/15 edition of the PD Wrap-Up, a Plain Dealer publication, I was intrigued by the front page spread of local jewelry designer, Anne Harrill, of Oceanne Jewelry.  I always love to discover new artists, and it is an extra bonus to discover and support local talent in Cleveland.  Having had a brief stint in jewelry design myself, between my accounting career and mommy-hood, I completely understand and appreciate how much work it takes to run your own little business.  Although it was rather time-consuming, I loved the creative side of designing my own pieces and the business side of sourcing the stones, securing local events and shows, and meeting new people.

From Allison Carey's Gift Guide, One-of-a-kind Cleveland Finds, "a native of France, Anne Harrill, has been making jewelry for 10 years. Her latest collection, Tea, features geometric shapes and tassels that range from dainty, layered pieces to those that make a statement. They are crafted with hand-forged brass elements, howlite, and marble."  Some of my favorites from her collections below...She also does custom bridal work for wedding parties, etc.







Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Christmas 2015 Gift Guide...

'Tis the season for the 2015 Christmas Gift Guide....Some fun finds from various sources, including small businesses, artisans, Etsy shops, etc...These gifts are mostly for the home, but also some for men, women, and children as well.

Hope you are all enjoying the holidays!! xoxo
Adorable, quirky striped stockings! ETSY shop, GoodWishesQuilts
I fell in love with ETSY artist, Coco de Paris when I spotted a series of her charming work in new shop, Sapphire Pear
She prints her quirky hand-painted images on vintage French book pages..As a side note, I am not sure whether the ones in Sapphire Pear are original works of art, plus they are matted and framed, so the price points are obviously different.
Another Coco de Paris work...She offers TONS of different animals, but I have a soft spot for these sweet giraffes!
Domino Magzine - Colorful Playing Cards
Lovely Custom Address Stamp from ETSY shop, LoveToCreateStamps

Michelle Armas- Leslie
Michelle Armas - Leslie Furbish Studio's holiday pop up shop....
Kate Mullin

Kate Mullin- Burst
Kate Mullin Oil on Birch Wood Panel - from Furbish Pop-up Shop

Love the charming illustrations in this Mari Robeson Desk Calendar

Adorable dish towels from fabulous new local Rocky River shop, Sapphire Pear

Jill Rosenwald Beautiful hand made ceramics...I am loving this line of 'Gold Glamour'
The reality is that ounce for ounce, this is comparable to a glass of wine in terms of calories, but I love the white cranberry flavor, and I usually pour over a generous glass of ice to cut the sweet taste...

Another from Jill Rosenwald, from her Erin Gates (my favorite blogger) Collection

Serena & Lily Plated Glass Hurricane
Restoration Hardware Faceted Metallic Ornament

Cottage in the City Galvanized Bucket
Not-Your-Grandpa's-Polaroid....This iconic classic offers a sleek new look and feel, plus fun for the entire family!
Jonathan Adler - Jacques Collection.....I have been admiring this collection for years, so beautiful with a vintage vibe...

Hammered (can you tell I love everything hammered!?) Beverage Tub from Pier One,default,pd.html

Vineyard Vines Vintage Truck Sweater
Gymboree Reindeer Sweater Dress

Gymboree Cozy Mammoth Sweater

Old Navy Fair Isle Sweater

DixieDelightsBlog ETSY wood tassel bracelets

J. Crew Classic Plaid Scarf

A friend recently gave me this adorable tank from new athletic gear line, Neva Wear
The fabric is very good quality, thick, with vibrant, fun colors and inspirational messages....PLUS,  you are helping to support local Southeast Asian artisans who support themselves through the work of these pieces. LOVE!

"(Nee-Vuh) noun 1. a highter standard of activewear creating an endless karmic loop - conneting you to your life's passions as the skilled artisans whose lives you are helping to positively transform."

If you have an emerging reader making the transition to chapter books, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this classic Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner.  My son Charlie refused to touch a chapter book until we got hooked on this series. The words are fairly simple and easy to read, and the captivating tale of four children making their way in the world will charm children and adults alike...PLUS, great boy-friendly themes of rock collecting, woods-exploring, camping, fishing, and outdoor adventures...

We haven't read this yet, but someone recently recommended it....

Merrell Decora Boots....
For the Beer Pong-Loving men in your life...Southern Tide's Splash Tie

Wishing you and your family and happy and healthy holiday season!! xoxo Claire

P.S. For some comic relief, I had to include some fun retro holiday cards....

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

2015 CYC Polar Express Inspiration....

This holiday season, I have volunteered to help with decorations for our local CYC Polar Express celebration.  This is an annual event my kids have loved year after year and it is fun for the entire family!  The kids sign up for a certain train time, arrive and the CYC in their favorite holiday PJs, and wait anxiously in the lobby until the "Conductor" (CYC Commodore) calls their name.  Once called, the Conductor punches their ticket and they climb aboard the Polar Express (i.e. a cute wooden trolley).  Next, they go for a ride around the neighborhood to gaze at the festive Christmas lights, down through the Cleveland Metroparks, etc. while the Conductor reads the Polar Express story.  They make a stop at Center Isle where they get off the Trolley and enter the "North Pole" to make crafts, enjoy a cup of hot cocoa, and then get back onto the Train to return to the clubhouse.  They end the evening with dinner or snacks upstairs, a meet with Santa, and Polar Express movie viewing.

Thankfully, I found a ton of inspiration photos to provide some fun and creative ideas for decorating the space.

I absolutely LOVE the train with yellow rectangles to look like the lighted train...What a cute idea!  I may try to pull this off somehow...

I have already started to collect large-scale ornaments and bowls to use for centerpieces, some gold cardboard stars from Target to hang from the ceiling, and I plan to wrap a bunch of larger cardboard boxes to make faux gifts, make some signs/murals for the walls, etc, but wanted to gather a few more ideas...

A few photos from prior years' CYC Polar Express Events...

Now for a few inspiration pics I found online....

I thought this would be fun to do on the entry door when the kids walk in....

LOVE THIS! I thought something like this might be cute on the fireplace...

I am going to purchase rolls of red, black, and yellow paper to ATTEMPT a smaller version of this...

I love this idea of putting down a runner for tracks.....However, with so many children, I fear it could become a tripping hazard, so I may just look into putting down duct or painters tape to create a train track leading into the Center Isle...

I would love to make a sign like this, if I can figure out the pole structure...

This could be a fun little station for the kids to write letters to Santa...

This has nothing to do with Polar Express, but came across this fun craft we did a few years ago...wanted to share.

This really has nothing to do with the Polar Express but loved this idea for the holdiays!


Here are a few photos from our actual CYC Polar Express...Everyone had a great time and it was super cute to see how excited the kids were to ride the trolley, listen to the story, do crafts, etc.