A Labor Day of Rest and a Cancer-Free Post

I posted this status below on Facebook recently.  Just thought I’d move it over here for safekeeping.  Please enjoy a post that isn’t about IV drips or side effects or how often I cry.

And if you’re a parent, feel free to substitute the word “volleyball” with soccer, football, swim, cheer, dance, band, debate, art or whatever other activity has completely absorbed your family, making you laugh and cry everyday for years.


AUGUST 3, 2016

As I unsubscribed from yet another club volleyball distribution list today, it hit me. Wow. It’s over.

Seven years of club volleyball has come to an end for “Team Burke”. That’s seven years of exhausting pre-tryout clinics all over the Metroplex. And I do mean ALL over. Seven years of nerve-racking tryouts, exciting team announcements, spirit wear nights, team bonding, team dinners, team photos. Seven years of countless hours of practices, scrimmages and tournaments. Seven years of savoring the highs of winning and trudging through the lows of losing. Seven years of good calls, bad calls, good refs, bad refs, missed serves, aces, blocks, digs, some really beautiful sets, arctic gyms, stifling gyms, early mornings and late nights. Seven years of pool play, brackets, flights (ugh) and sometimes medals! Seven years of amazingly fun and memorable weekend getaways with my daughters and my beloved volleyball moms to some really fun cities. And sometimes we had no choice but to make the boring cities fun. We were good at that. There were lots and lots of hotel reservations, airline tickets, giggling in the hallways late at night right before curfew, parent meetings at the hotel bar (don’t judge, just do not even). There were road trips, breakfast buffets, dinners out, $5 waters at convention centers, sneaking in Jimmy John’s sandwiches (evil eye to you Spokane organizers) and other shenanigans I won’t mention. There were lots and lots of tournament t-shirts. Oh my gosh, can I get an amen on the tournament t-shirts?!?

Seven year of tears, cheers and wine with those volleyball moms.

I loved it. I hated it. And I miss it already.

My girls were pretty good. Just sayin’. They could have kept going, could have played in college. Somewhere. Not at Texas or Penn State. But somewhere.

Watching them play has been a privilege. A thrill. A primary reason I have grey hair. Feeling their pain and crying tears of joy for them pretty much summarizes parenthood, doesn’t it? We wanted it for them so badly, didn’t we? Every. Single. Game.

Yes. Our girls have moved on. I’m almost there but I’m not quite there. Yet. College applications are being submitted and college visits are on the family calendar. We’re going to enjoy this new lifestyle with all these free weekends, as we pack away stacks of old jerseys in keepsake bins. Maybe I’ll make one of those blankets. It’ll have to be king size at this point.

Anyway, if I’ve sat in the bleachers with you and you got to know my daughters, if you’ve coached Olivia or Isabelle, THANK YOU for your friendship over the years. Thank you for supporting them and teaching them and making them better. I can’t tell you what it means and how it’s helped shape them into mature, responsible, well-traveled, coachable young women. These are life lessons that will help them so much for years to come. You made a positive impact on a young person’s life. Well done you.

Soooo….To help me forget that I’m NOT at the tour of Texas in January, Patrick and I booked a cruise with some friends, using what would have been volleyball dues money. And because I know it’ll feel weird NOT to be at a qualifier in Denver or Chicago, or at the Tour finals scoping out all the college coaches during spring break, we’re going on a family vacation, using what would have been volleyball dues money.

Okay, I’m getting closer.

It’s a new chapter for Team Burke. As Olivia’s senior “lasts” come at us from every direction (last high school tryout, last birthday at home, etc) Patrick and I look back on the past seven years with gratitude. Gratitude that our daughters were healthy enough to play and that we had the means to allow them to play club volleyball. Gratitude for the friendships we made — solid, life-long friendships that really, really matter to us. We look back with pride that both Olivia and Isabelle did it so well, and joy that they both had so much fun doing it.

Good luck to all of our friends playing club this year! We can’t wait to come and cheer you on. And we KNOW you tailgate on Saturdays, so you better invite us to that, too!!