Tag Archives: lacrosse

My life with superheroes

Halloween 1988.

The superheroes first made an appearance in our home during the Halloween season of 1988. Our son Andy was 3; David, who was just 15 months old, was running a fever. Yet he pulled himself together long enough to don the Superman pajamas his grandmother, Connie Barr, had sent from Connecticut and walk with us down the street to trick-or-treat at a few of the nearby houses. Then, exhausted, he helped me answer the door as Andy and his father foraged further. Superman, as you know, is brave and self-sacrificing. Especially when his pride (and candy) are at stake.

A month later, a different kind of superhero emerged: the firefighter. Our sons donned bright red plastic helmets, boarded their “fire truck” and sirened, “REE-oh, REE-oh,” as big brother Andy furiously pedaled his trusty sidekick around in circles on the back patio.

November 1990.

The Disney movie “Dumbo” was big in our house that year. Andy would watch it endlessly, perched on my stepladder, his fireman’s hat in place, pretending to put out the fire as the clown fire fighters in the movie tried to do the same.

Superman made a repeat performance for Andy’s fourth birthday. We staged a “Super Sloppy, Super Heroes Birthday Party” in the backyard. He and his friends wore costumes, capes (or simply swimsuits) as they fought ferocious battles with shaving cream and spray bottles. We modeled the party after a TV show that was popular at the time called “Super Sloppy Double Dare,” a children’s game show that Nickelodeon soon purchased and renamed “Family Double Dare.”

Andy and his friend Sarah Delaney, July 1989.

The invitations I made invited kids to enjoy “all kinds of super sloppy fun, including the Amazing Super Silly Sudsing Machine” (my carpet cleaner, which generated suds like nothing you’ve ever seen.) Moms were reassured that “all sloppy stuff will be the washable kind.”

Spacemen. Now those guys are true superheroes. So when yet another box of costumes arrived from their grandmother Barr (did I mention she was a theater major in college?), our sons eagerly incorporated planets, aliens and laser guns into their pretend play. The costumes were gifts for two boys whose birthdays were a mere 12 days apart each July, making the entire month something of a celebration. Their fascination with spacemen extended well into fall, making for easy costume decisions when Halloween rolled around.

Spaceman Dave, Halloween 1989.

Our sons moved on to become Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Ghostbusters. I soon forgot what they looked like in regular clothes. I got used to tripping over weapons and helmets and elaborate fortresses they created with blankets atop the living room sofa.

The superheroes made one last, heroic appearance when Batman and Robin showed up in the spring of 1990. By the next year, the boys had found a new kind of superhero: the kind with big muscles who throw footballs or baseballs or make amazing three-pointers on the basketball court. Pretend play gave way to real competition on soccer and T-ball fields, followed by Little League and Pop Warner fields and eventually high school and college football and lacrosse fields.

Robin (Dave) and Batman (Andy) under the kitchen table, 1990.

Both of our sons are now college graduates and working professionals with exciting, meaningful jobs in Washington, D.C.

Superheroes in their own right.

David (left) and Andy during a Christmas 2010 visit to Santa Barbara to see their grandmother...the one who bought all the superhero costumes.

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The best laid plans

Sometimes the day doesn’t go the way you expected. Despite your best intentions. And because of them.

My husband and I planned to attend a girls lacrosse game on Saturday morning. We wanted to watch my honorary goddaughter, Ace Jenkins, in her first game of a new season with the Desert StiX. We showed up at the field at 11am, the time I’d noted on my calendar.

The game actually started at 10. It was my mistake; I’d entered it incorrectly on my calendar. So we missed the whole thing. But we enjoyed the chance to catch up with 10-year-old Ace and her dad, Tony.

Dan, who played lacrosse in college and was an enthusiastic fan for the eight years our son David played in high school and college, gave Ace some pointers. He encouraged her to practice picking up the ball with her stick, and explained a drill she could do on her own at home. Pickups are important, he explained, because the team that is most often in possession of the ball usually wins the game.

As we were talking, we noticed an older group of girls gathering at the other end of the field. As Ace and Tony left to go home, Dan and I walked down the field to investigate.

Dan, who still follows both boys and girls high school lacrosse in Arizona, quickly figured out what was going on. It was tryouts for the traveling team that will represent Arizona in the Women’s Division National Tournament at Stony Brook University in New York over Memorial Day weekend. Dan spotted Jessica Livingston, coach at Chaparral High School, who was leaning on crutches as she watched the warmups and drills from the sidelines. (She torn her ACL playing lacrosse a few weeks ago and won’t likely be playing again for the next six months.)

I needed a story for the Sunday website. Dan is always happy to write about lacrosse. And I had my camera. So my best laid plans gone wrong ended up right on track.

Read Dan’s story here.