Saturday, February 11, 2012

Life and Death...and Volleyball

Oh Blog, how I love thee. If only I could find a way to just dictate from my brain the constant barrage of chatter and "posts" that fill my head daily... my mental health would probably be more sound and this would be a much more accurate journal.

But alas, it's hard to write about life when you're living it. That's why I need a Siri.

Any-who. This has been an interesting week. We were in recovery mode from celebrating the boys' birthdays (Holden turned THREE on the first, and Danny 29 on the fifth.) We had a superhero get together with family for Holden, and headed upstate to "The Barn" in Eden for a Superbowl weekend that included another jaunt at iFly for indoor skydiving. (More on that in another post, another day.)

What's on my mind is Volleyball, Life and Death.

Not that volleyball is life and death, but as many of you may have heard, Coach Lori Richards passed away from breast cancer last week and services were held Thursday and Friday. I drove down to Orem for the viewing with Zoë on Thursday evening and caught up with these girls for dinner and a night of memories, laughter, plenty of tears and to honor this amazing woman.

(And yes, I'm on my tip-toes and they're all hunched over in flats...)

There are a few things I took away from that night -- in no particular order.
  • I have pretty much ALWAYS been eccentric. Flashbacks to my college wardrobe remind me it wasn't so much "clothing" as just a "cloth" around my bottom as the mini-skirts, tiny-girl-tee's and Baby Doll dresses I wore did not leave much to the imagination. (And the girls mentioned something about cartwheels in the shower apres practice? I have conveniently forgotten this scandalous piece of info. Surely it was someone else, not moi.) Couple all of that with my love of politics (I helped charter a chapter of College Democrats of America my sophomore year at UVU), and I equaled one fantastic juxtaposition of oddness & excitement. "Let's go dance at Club Omni! PS. Have I convinced you about the atrocities of supply-side-economics yet?"
  • Lori was and is well loved. The viewing started at 6, and when we rolled in at 6:30 the line of friends already extended down and past the entire hall surrounding the chapel of their Ward building. (More on lessons from Lori later).
  • I have always been blessed with incredible friends. I'd like to think it's the principle of like-attracts-like, but I am more inclined to believe God is sending me constant angels in the form of strong, thoughtful, energetic and inspiring ladies to help be my guide. This was true at UV, at IWU and even post college.
Just a sampling of the amazing stories and lives these gals are living (From left to right in the picture):
Brandi just recently married. Spent life as a single-mother to a now 15-yo and is planning on having another!
Jess - my Texas rose! More knee surgeries than MJ's nose jobs. Diagnosed with and battling cancer - is fighting it and winning!
Crystal - pregnant 5 times (6 total babes)...gave her first up for adoption to give the kid a better life, has three of her own, and was a surrogate to twins (one of the babies ended up passing away before birth.)
Kelsi - more connected than Kevin Bacon. Grew up in California, played VBall at UVU, served an LDS mission (Called to SLC - ha!), Assistant Athletic Director at some liberal arts college in Wisconsin and getting ready for baby #2 (just 16 months apart from her first).
Brenda - amazing Mom, beautiful family. Brenda has always been the strong-silent type. Amazingly smart, but so quiet about her accomplishments. It's possible she's received a Nobel Peace Prize in the last 15 years, but we'd never know it because she's that humble.

With the recent addition of Zoë, GNOs are few and far between. I was so fed Thursday night -- emotionally, spiritually. And I freaking laughed my arse off (oddly enough, it came back. Must be the peanut butter chocolate bars I've been helping myself to as of late).

Lori taught me a lot of things -- so much on the court, but more even so off of it. My Freshman year I remember thinking that I had arrived. I was playing college sports (on scholarship!), was living on my own (with roommates), had no curfew, no parents dictating my schedule... FREEDOM, FREEDOM, FREEDOM! It was awesome.

I remember telling Lori how amazing I thought it was.

"You know, it just keeps getting better," she told me. How could I believe her? Better than this? I can't imagine growing up and being tied down with the responsibilities of being an adult with a family could be better than this. But she reiterated...with that million dollar smile and huge eyes that sparkled, oddly enough I knew she meant it.

And she has been entirely right.

Thank you for that Lori, I reflect on it often. It does just keep getting better.

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