Well..I thought fall will be an easy-going month but NO!
Fall season is as hectic as summer this year as my 10U/12U daughter has had tournaments almost every weekend. She plays some 12U tournaments and some 10U and their team is all over the place, San Jose, Stockton, Manteca, Fremont, Salinas. My older 14U daughter missed softball so much during summer that she decided to play Fall ball but her team is a little easy-going than my younger one’s.
Well, this weekend was a little somber. My 14U played in theAlexis Briski Tournamentin Los Gatos, Campbell area. It is organized by the Briski family who lost one of their daughters Alexis to childhood cancer. You can read about it in the link above. It is very heartbreaking to read about her brave fight against cancer and her love for the game of softball. During the game the Briski family came with their other daughters to watch our game. I was going to talk to them but decided not to so they can just enjoy a game of softball without being interrupted.
Ironically during the same game I heard from my family that my brother-in-law has succumbed to Bile duct cancer. He was diagnosed in Feb and passed away this weekend. Definitely made me ponder what is really important in life. Life is too short. Cherish your kids and loved ones.
Anyway…moving on to lighter side of things…during one of the games before our game a player from one team had such an awesome throw from the outfield to home to get the kid out that was stealing home. Everyone thought she was going to be out when the catcher tossed her helmet to catch the ball and it bounced off the ground and hit her in the face. Ouch…that was very painful to watch. Just that split second when she took her helmet off to see the ball and lost her tooth. The entire team was searching at home plate for that missing tooth. Some of the kids from the opposing team came out to search for the tooth and they started bawling one after another as they saw the catcher hurt. Some of the kids crying uncontrollably…it was interesting to watch how the girls were so emotionally connected to the game and other players.
This weekend was eye-opening for us as parents of a couple of softball players. I had signed up my daughter who will be a freshman this year into this Stanford Advance/Elite softball camp. As usual, I had no idea what this camp was about as we have never done this before. I mainly signed her up because she took a break from playing travel ball this summer and she wanted to keep her skills up so she can play high school ball in the spring.
Little did we know how many kids come to these camps. 76 + another parent next to me was counting as the kids walked in. It may be more for all I know. Kids came all the way from Los Angeles, Texas, Washington State, Colorado, New York or some other state from the east coast. A lot of them were talking about just having played at the PGF tournament in Southern CA and then doing this camp right after. Many kids had their team jerseys.
This was a 2 day action packed camp. Day one was from 9am to 6pm and Day 2 was 8am to 1pm. On the first day, the kids all stood around in a circle and were supposed to learn something memorable about the girl standing next to her and introduce her to everyone. The parents were a little further away from the group and so I couldn’t hear much of what they were saying but I know that my 14-year-old daughter was the next one to be introduced and all of a sudden the entire group of girls and coaches just burst out in laughter. I was wondering what did she say that made the entire team laugh! My daughter is the “poodle girl” since she said that she had poodles that were brothers who had 2 different moms but same dad and born on the same day. Yes that is very true and one coach thought that was scandalous 😉
Well I was glad they got a kick out of that. Jokes aside, we as parents were impressed with the amount of information the coaches provided for both kids and parents. Everyday the coaches split the girls up into 3 to 4 groups and went through hitting, fielding, sliding and game scenarios. My daughter was really impressed with how nice the coaches and the Stanford players were. The coaches included Head coach Rachel Hanson, Assistant coaches Megan Langenfeld and Dorian Shaw and volunteer assistant coach Jo Koons. I noticed the coaches stop and correct the players if they noticed they were not doing something correctly.
My daughter was proud when Coach Dorian commented that she has an “amazing swing”. I think that made her day. The kids also made friends and the entire atmosphere was very nice and fun. The best part of the camp was the Q&A session. I am going to list some of the things that I learnt from these sessions.
Surprising one was that verbal commitments are being made to players for the class of 2018 and 2019. They already have identified who these players are and the head coach said that the top 25 schools were giving verbal commitments to players as young as 8th grade. She mentioned the system is broken but they have to make the best of it and they are competing for the same pool of players that the other top 25 schools are competing. That is a little insane but I was glad they were very honest about the process.
That doesn’t mean there is no hope for the older girls she said since verbal commitments are not set in stone and change if the kids don’t get good grades or not of good character or if they don’t continue to develop into the high-caliber player.
Once they have identified the players they are interested in the coaches get to watch these players at the big tournaments in So. Cal like the PGF and the one in Colorado where all the coaches from near and far come to recruit. They also have relations with a few travel ball coaches that send their best players with top grades their way.
They also said they like the players making the effort to get in touch with the coaches instead of the parents. But they are not allowed to usually talk to the players off campus. They can’t email back or call back if you leave a message. They also mentioned not to waste money on services that do a package for your daughter and email to the coaches. That these services usually spam the coaches emails and the emails just get deleted.
The kids asked questions about ACT and SAT scores and Coach Hanson mentioned that the score of at least 28 on ACT and 650 or above on SAT are the minimum but that doesn’t mean that is enough score to get into Stanford. Essays are essential. The encouraged the girls to push themselves at school and take as many AP classes as they can and play other sports in addition to softball at their high schools. This makes for a well-rounded player who is not burnt out from just playing softball.
Among the thousands of girls playing softball every year in the US, the number of kids that these elite schools actually recruit are usually 4 or 5 in each of the top 25 school, so folks be realistic about getting into these schools. And have a talk with your kids that there are plenty of other great schools in the US with some great softball programs if they have their hearts set on playing at college level.
As for us, we were appreciative of all the information we got but honestly my daughter went to camp to get warmed up after a summer off and what better way to do it than go to Stanford University which is just 15 to 20 mins from our home. She was glad to go to camp and very happy to know that she was still good enough to play with all these amazing players who had come to camp and she is very proud of what Coach Dorian said about her “amazing swing”. Thanks Coach, you made the camp worth it for her.
I would really encourage interested softball players to sign up for these camps if you are in the area. It will be an awesome experience. Coach Hanson and all the assistant coaches were very approachable and very straight forward in their answers.
Good luck to all the girls who want to play at college level. If there is a will there is a way! Go for it if it is YOUR dream and not that of your parents 😉
Well folks summer is done! and Nationals are done!
I’d say we had the tiniest team at the Nationals(except a couple of girls). How about shoe size Y5 playing against adult size 10? That’s how wild the range of the kids were in the teams we played against. Needless to say, our team struggled. But you know what, they played the best they could, considering the natural limits they had. So as parents we are very proud of them trying their very best and look forward to all the things they will learn as they grow older.
After watching older girls games, watching 10U games almost always looks like we are watching the games in slow motion. It is kind of cute how small they are and how little they know and how they transform into great athletes by 16U-18U.
I think the team of people who organized the Nationals worked really hard to make Stockton look appealing and welcoming to everyone playing, the only sad part was when you hear in the news that the Mayor of Stockton got arrested for providing drinks to underage and playing strip poker! It is very sad how one person ruins the hard work of so many others. Specially if that person is in a position of charge!
Thanks to the organizers for trying hard to make your city welcoming and Congratulations to Universal FastPitch for winning the well deserved 10U Championship! School is starting, school softball is starting for middle school and fall ball is starting. Good luck to your kids at school and in the fall season. My daughter is moving up to 12U.
PS: My husband overheard some coaches talking about my blog. Thanks for reading. ! I appreciate it!!
Yay!!! We are going to Nationals again!!!! This time it is for my youngest daughter 10U division. Congratulations to all the teams that made it to the Nationals happening at Arnaiz Stadium in Stockton, CA the first week of August 2016.
Here is the Official page to the 10U Nationals. Here you can find all the activities and events and pool brackets, Hotel recommendations etc and will be the go to place to get updates on the latest. Hilton Stockton is listed as the Hotel choice and if you want to read more about our experience at Hilton Stockton, click the link.
Here are the teams which made it to the Nationals. As of today, the following teams are in.
The links above are not the greatest for some teams. So if you know better links to any of these teams please contact me and I will update it. Usually at this 10U level, teams do not travel far to go play at the Nationals.
If you remember, last year (2015)we went to the 12 U Nationals, we had 55 teams and we tied for the 13th spot. As the kids get older the number of teams quadruple as the teams and parents are willing to travel far and spend a LOT of $$$. It is definitely an experience to be had.
We have played many regular games at Arnaiz Stadium where every first game of the day starts with a National Anthem and an announcement of their world famous Root Beer Float 😉
They have a decent snack shack and real restrooms (not just porta pottys) which is good. Here is a look of the snack shack and a pic of their menu. Nothing fancy, just regular ball park food. There are a couple of places (subway, Starbucks etc) near by that you can go to get something a little better. May be they will add more items to their menu for Nationals.
Their menu is also here below…
Most importantly…please lock your valuables or better yet, do not leave anything of value in your car. Almost every time we have played here someones car has been broken into. Remember this is Stockton, not fairy land. They used to have a big sign right at the front gate that I took a pic of several years ago. They have since removed this sign, but the message still stands. You can’t call 911 if your car gets broken into since the city is bankrupt (may be they are out of bankruptcy now) and does not respond to car break-ins. They have to allocate their resources to more important emergencies.
Also if your team goes across the road to practice at the Glacier Point park, be wary since occasionally there are some shady characters (basically thugs or gangs) driving around in motorcycles playing really loud music. Very intimidating the last time it happened when our team was practicing here in between games. Does not make you feel safe.
If I have not scared you enough, then I will see you at the Nationals. Good luck to the teams playing. We have a very young team, so we will definitely struggle but the kids have been improving steadily and we hope to battle it till the end. It will be a great experience for them!!
First of all I wanted to give a belated father’s day shout out to all the dads that bring their kids week after week to the sports fields. No matter what sport. You are making a BIG difference in your kids life just by being at the field. Sorry that I have been slacking in my blogging. Home remodel takes too much time. As the title of this blog captures, Good vs Bad sportsmanship-this is how our weekend games went.
Okay..now turning completely off the course…I had to dig through to see what good sportmanship means. Yes, we had an awful situation where we had to talk to the umpire and here is what was the kicker..the sportsmaship was very different to the ASA umpires and USSSA umpires…at least the one who umpired our 10U championship game this Sunday. We were playing a USSSA game (the umps who wear red) and during our Championship game we were playing against this team X. I don’t really want to be mean and name the team as they are still 10 yr old players and do as their coaches and parents tell them to do.
Well, may be this is how they win their games because they do not believe in their own talent. They almost had no cheers to actually cheer their teammates at bat. They only had cheers to bring down the pitcher of the opposing team. Pitch after pitch..the cheer kept getting worst. Like screaming and increasing the intensity just as the pitcher was about to pitch. I am sure you have played against similar teams.
When we have played in ASA tournaments against teams like this in the past, we have had the umpires call the game against the derogatory team because of bad sportsmanship. This weekend, the distraction to our pitcher made her throw a ball that hit the batter, so our coach had a talk to the plate umpire to keep the intensity of the Team X’s cheer the same level and not increase just as the pitch was going to be delivered. Mind you..they did not ask for no cheer but to keep it the same tone and not intensify just at the moment of pitching.
This is the same umpire that told all the kids in our team to take a knee since one player was hurt. He said it is not in the rules but just courtesy to the hurt player. We were fine with that, but when our coaches asked him to have a talk with the other coaches about good sportsmanship he surprised us by saying that our kids can do the same derogatory cheer to them while they are pitching. Where did the courtesy go? What are we teaching our kids?
Hmm…is that an ASA vs USSSA difference of sportsmanship?
We were just shocked that he would even tell our kids to have bad sportsmanship. What is sportsmanship anyway? Here is he Merriam-Webster version of it.
Simple Definition of sportsmanship
: fair play, respect for opponents, and polite behavior by someone who is competing in a sport or other competition
Here is what ASA says about their values. Page 3 in values and Article 103 item C in page 5. We also witnessed their parents encouraging their players to continue their bad behavior and their coaches not caring what they do as long as they win their game.
I am very proud of the team my daughter plays for. Our players and parents are always told when they joined our team : when our kids wear their jersey, what they say, do and how they play reflects upon the entire team even when they are off the softball field. You would never see any of our parents out of line or drinking in the field or our kids behaving badly. They would be cut immediately. I would rather my kids lose every single game and learn good morals and behavior then win one single game with bad behavior.
We may have lost our Championship game by 3 runs this weekend in Palo Alto but in our eyes our kids were Champions. They learnt a valuable lesson in good etiquette and sportsmanship!!! Way to go girls! You will be outstanding young ladies when you grow up!!! Thank you for not doing bad cheers even if the umpire said you can do it. Okay, I got this off my chest…now we need to work with our pitchers to shut out all the noise and focus on the game. More time watching Legend of Bagger Vance. We are working on it.
Happy Mother’s day to all the wonderful moms and moms to be.
As an honor to moms, most teams have this weekend off to enjoy. I hope you all get pampered and feel loved this weekend. A lot has changed since last year for us. For one, the kids have grown older and both my kids have grown past me in height 😉 Something they have been looking forward to since they were little.
As some of you know my 14-year-old quit travel softball beginning of this year and blogging has been hard for me when she doesn’t play. But my 11-year-old is still playing travel ball and really getting good at it. Last weekend in Stockton was a good weekend for my 11-year-old. She was actually paying attention and making plays that surprised me. So I will get back into blogging soon. My oldest still plays B level games and thinks she may still play high school ball. Our home remodel and some health problems in our family has also put a damper on things lately. My brother-in-law who was our remodeling contractor got diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and things have been devastating to say the least. It did bring us all a perspective on what is really important in life.
Sometimes, I like to reflect on what kind of mom am I and if I am being a good example to the kids. Trust me, this year has been very testing where I have lost my cool more than usual. Last week we had a game and my 14-year-old was getting frustrated pitching during the game and just couldn’t get it back together to tweak it enough to strike out kids. The same 3rd strike syndrome took over.
Anyway, it was a very frustrating game to watch and she was reflecting on the way home of why she did how she did and talking about it made her open up to other things going on. She even corrected me on the things I have not been cool about and set things straight. Even though I was shocked to hear, it was very rewarding for me as a mom to know that we ( my husband and I) have instilled good principles in our kids to call us out when we don’t follow our own advise. Kids also have benefited a lot from working hard and playing hard in their games and develop a sense of pride and reward when they do good and reflect on things if games don’t go the way they had expected. I can see how it is translating to everyday living.
So, I am happy to know that somehow in the middle of all these nutty schedules and softball games and rushing to work and remodeling a house and all the craziness going on in our lives on a daily basis, I am doing an okay job raising my kids to grow into responsible and compassionate future adults.
I think this year, this is the best mother’s day gift I can ask for.
I hope you have a wonderful Mother’s day and feel loved.
We officially started our 2016 travel softball season today. I know some of your teams have been playing since March or earlier already. Both my girls have been playing recreation softball since March for fun and for my soon to be 11-year-old, the official travel ball season started today. Kids were definitely rusty… after a long break. Since most of our girls from the 10U team moved up to 12 U, we are short 4 players on our 10U team, so the remaining 10U girls are playing up at the 12U level until we have enough to form a team.
It was a little frustrating to see that my girl was chasing that elusive 3rd strike most of the time today. She would pitch 2 strikes and then have the batters fowl off many balls and then walk the girl. It is funny to watch what a long break does, they ended the season last year with so many good games and awesome pitching and now it was as if they were struggling. Not just mine but all the girls were rusty. Hopefully as the season progresses, they will get their groove back on.
If you have a 10 U age group player that wants to see what travel ball is like, then please check out Strikezone. Mention that you saw it on this site. They are looking for 10U and 12U players currently.
The organization is a great fit for young girls. They not only teach the girls with patience how to play positions in the game but also teach them how to play in a way the college teams expect them to play. They have excellent hitting techniques and have a huge indoor facility that the kids can practice in.
Lately several new travel teams have asked me to list them under the travel softball page and I have been adding them, so please check out the Travel softball in Northern California page and see if there is one that is a good fit for you.
How is that Nachos with cheese on top? or that Polish sausage? If you kids play softball, you are no stranger to the snack shack menu. They are pretty much the same everywhere. Equally bad!!
I cannot say anything good about any of the foods listed here. When my kids used to play rec ball it was fun to go play or watch a game and eat some occasional snack shack food. But when we have jumped into the game of softball with both feet in, it is a little scary to think how many kids eat this food every weekend. I am guilty of eating/letting my kids eat this food too, don’t get me wrong! But I am realizing how bad this is for my family.
It just seems like so much importance is given to how our kids play in the game and we kind of slip up on the minor details like what they eat between games or after games. I know there are times when we can’t take food into the park or we are in a hurry that we rely on snack shack foods, but these are crappy food we let our kids eat.
Lets see…. if a kid starts playing softball from age 8 until 18, that is 10 years of eating crappy food during weekends. I am sure kids in travel ball play at least 6 to 8 months of softball every year. Kids play so hard right now that they would burn through everything they eat. None of the above foods would really bother them immediately but what they will develop is a habit that they will find hard to break once they are done with softball career.
With Diabetes, Fatty liver and other metabolic diseases on the rise, we really need to watch what we eat. One reason for my enlightenment (can you see the halo around my head 😉 ) is that about a couple of years ago by accident I found out that I had non alcoholic fatty liver and also started having extreme joint aches. I am a little chubby ;-0 (as my mom would say it politely) for my height but not extremely overweight or anything, so I was completely shocked that I had a non alcoholic fatty liver. I hardly drink! So what was causing my fatty liver? I went to a liver specialist who after a bunch of tests said that the carbs I am eating are not metabolizing normally and get deposited as fat in my liver. So I had to cut back on my carbs to 50%. I am also genetically predisposed to this condition as a lot of people of Asian Indian origins have fatty liver but are not aware of it.
Growing up I lived on carbs. For about 15 years I was a vegetarian. So I mostly ate carbs and vegetables. I did not eat much protein. Then, when I started having joint aches and aches in my back right side, my doctor ran a few tests for Arthritis, Celiac’s and food allergies but tests did not reveal any arthritis or allergies. My doctor also recommended that I go see a nutritionist since my blood tests revealed a lot of inflammation.
I was debating which one to go to and then read a lot of reviews about Greenlite Medicine in the bay area. I was very skeptical about weight loss places. I did not join to lose weight but to just start feeling better and get rid of my joint aches. I actually started going to my nutritionist Heynia Loro-Cooley. She is amazing and has a great personality. She is like a cheer leader for good eating habits and weight loss.
I told them my problem and my goal. From her experience, Heynia suggested that I cut back on carbs from wheat and rice (mostly cut out bread and rice completely for 3 months). I was asked to eat more protein. The first few weeks were pure torture. I had never eaten so much meat before. Totally was not cool. I was also told to triple my water intake because I was not drinking enough water. The reason I joined the program was to be accountable to sticking to my goal. This was not a cheap program but in the 3 months I joined, I learnt what to eat and what to avoid. Within the first week, my joint aches disappeared. MIRACLE!
After 3 months all of my blood work for liver enzymes came back normal. Now after cutting more refined flour products, my joint aches disappeared. I did not do any additional exercise. My normal activities makes me take 8000 to 12000 steps on a daily basis, so I just did what I always do. After 3 months I lost 2 of these fat deposits shown in the picture.
This is disgusting isn’t it? To see fat in pictures. This is just a model of the fat but weighs 5 lbs. It has been a few month now since I stopped the program and I have gained a few pounds back during the holidays but have less joint aches. This is the most expensive 10 lbs that I have ever lost in my life and I do not want to gain it back. What I learnt from this process is that is so hard to lose weight as we get older and finding healthy snacks at softball parks is almost impossible. The only place that I was able to get a nice salad is at Big League dream field in Manteca, CA. I also learnt that carbs even though are essential to our body, if they are from the wrong sources can actually hurt our body. I still have a lot of inflammation in my body and I am still trying to find out what is causing it..so it is going to be a long journey.
Long story short, what I am trying to say is please take care of your health and teach your kids good eating habits. Occasional junk food from snack shack is not bad but to eat junk food every weekend is just not good for your kids or yourself. The best gift we can give our kids is to show them by example what good and bad food choices are. A close family member from my husband’s side was also recently diagnosed with cancer and now I am really trying to question everything I buy at the store and everything we eat (genetically modified foods are so rampant) without our knowledge and the things we do out of convenience.
I think softball fields should allow parents to bring healthy foods into the park if it is not available in their menu. That’s fair isn’t it?
Wishing good health to your family and your superstar kids this year!!
Spring is almost here! Have your kids signed up for Softball yet? Recreation or travel ball? Even though my older daughter quit travel ball, she has signed up for a multi city recreation softball because she still likes playing softball. Our season has not started yet. My younger one also has signed up for rec softball and also continues to do travel ball.
Did you know that this year the 10U ASA nationals is in Stockton, CA? If your kids want to play at the National level and see what it is all about then this is your chance to have a National Championship so close to home. I should warn you though this is not for the faint of heart. It is very hard and some of the teams you see are SO tough.
We just got back from our winter break trip and I happened to sit next to a family who was travelling from FL to CA for their kids sport and I stuck up a conversation to see if they played baseball and was very surprised to find out that there was a tournament for Pokemon going on this weekend in Anaheim, CA. The parents were explaining how there is so much college scholarship available now for gaming and how much they travel for their games.
Alas, if your kids are glued to their screens…don’t freak out, if they are really good at their game they still might be able to score a college scholarship but I am not sure if they are going to be the most physically fit athletes though!!! You may not have to invest in the stocks of sunscreen companies but you may have to drag you kids by their feet to get some sunshine or invest in Vitamin D 😉
Well, if you still have not signed up for softball, check in quick to see if there are any travel softball teams looking for players.
Well, It has been a while since I blogged and there is a lot that has happened. Good and not so good…I am very sad to say that my 13-year-old has decided to quit the travel level softball (“A ball”). It was not an easy choice for her. She has been mulling the thought of quitting travel ball since the end of last season. She has played for the last 3 + years, so she is quite used to the rhythm of rigorous practices and the busyness of the game. She has also had her share of injuries and growing pains as she grew up playing this sport. Over the last few years she has given up many weekends in order to play the sport she loved. We are very proud of the fact that she was willing to choose to join A ball and choose to go to practices and games for the last few years. Joining the travel ball was her choice since we warned her before joining that it was quite rigorous compared to recreation softball. She still wanted to do it.
It has been a great experience for her to learn what working hard means. At the travel ball team she learnt discipline and that she was expected to perform and do her very best every time she played. In the particular team she was in, she was expected to behave her best when she wore her travel jersey because she was representing the team even when she was off the field. All these were good lessons for her that she would have never learnt otherwise. Honestly, from a parents point of view, this was a great experience for kids in the 10U-12U age group. The coaching is still very lenient and not as rigorous as the 14U and up age group. So we are glad she got to experience this. This experience has also given her more confidence to umpire games for recreation softball during summer. Honestly, we didn’t think she would last more than a year. But we were surprised when she kept going on for 3+ years and during that time she has been an excellent player. We are very proud of this.
For her, it was about proving to herself if she could rise up to this level of play and she convinced herself that she could do it. She made many friendships while playing that she will miss. Their team actually made it 13th on the ASA Nationals for 12U level which was not an easy feat for 12-year-old girls. So we are very proud of her and her team. As she is about to go to high school next year, she has been thinking about the dedication that is required to play at this level and if she wanted to put in the effort required to continue playing. Since she is not willing to put in her best effort, she decided not to play travel ball. She is actually an excellent student and consistently is in the top of her AP classes and works most days until late hours at night doing homework. So she has been thinking a lot about the time-consuming aspect of travel ball and if she wants to actually play softball in college or not.
Playing or not playing, we wanted it to be her choice. We strongly believe that by the time kids leave home to go to college that they learn to make their own choices and know the importance and consequences of their choices. So we made her write the pros and cons of travel softball and think about it for a month. It was very difficult for her. She would mull about it every week and ask us what were some of the tough choices we had to make in life. But in the end she decided to not play travel level softball. She may still play rec or high school ball so she has not completely quit softball. Who knows..may be she will miss it so much that she may want to play “A ball” again. But for now she is having to pleasantly learn about social life during weekends and dedicate more time to her other passion “computer graphics”. If she lets me, I will post link to her art sites later.
Well, the good news is my 10-year-old is still very much into travel softball and enjoying every aspect of it. Hopefully she will continue and their team will make it to Nationals this summer and….I will still be writing about softball.
Take care and have a prosperous New Year!
PS: If your kids want to venture into A ball, many teams are having tryouts this time of the year so just check out their travel ball website and go try out.