Win or lose, it's how you play the game. Just get those penalties boy!

When we moved to San Diego one of my requirements for the kids was to get involved.  We've enjoyed everything Maui was all about and it was time to take advantage of what San Diego and the "mainland" had to offer.  I'm a big believer in team sports.  Cole has never had any real interest.  Demi either.  One of my many parenting challenges....get them on a team and get excited about it.  


We had NO idea what we were getting into.  Little did I know, these boys were groomed from a very young age to take this aggressive sport well into high school and beyond.  Below is a photo from Cole's first game.  Of course I'm all excited and pumped for him, but as I start observing, I start panicking.  FUDGE.  These boys are big.  It was like slow motion...I could hear the crush of bones and grunts and yelps.  It was straight out of a movie.  My 82 lb skinny surfer kid was going to get killed out there.  All because of my selfish desire for him to "learn life lessons from being on a team."

We weren't in Kansas anymore.   


There are only two options regarding commitment. You’re either IN or you’re OUT. There is no such thing as life in-between.
— Pat Riley

That game was a demoralizing one.  And so would the next 10 games.  It was like watching the Mighty Ducks.  But there was no end to the losing.  These other teams were being dropped off in Rolls Royce's and Bentley's.  College's scouting from the sidelines.  These were 5th and 6th graders people!!!!  Geeeeeez.  Cole cried.  And cried a lot.  He's not an aggressive kid and has never been super physical.  He quit jui jitsu because he didn't like fighting.  And there I go throwing him in the mix with a bunch of growling, sweating rich little misfits.  Crimony what have I done.  I had to literally DRAG him to games.  He hated it.  And I didn't blame him.  

Then something changed. 

He came off the field in the one of the first games crying. 

"Mom, I'm scared." 

If you have ever felt guilt as a parent, this was one of those moments.  What have I done?  What was wrong with me?  Why was I doing this to him?  Myself? 


Life was going to slash him like these scary boys on the field.  And he needed to know he could handle it.  He needs to know life is hard and is going to throw you some serious curve balls.  So with tears streaming down his face, I grabbed his helmet and had a pep talk off to the side of the field in the middle of the game with him.

"Cole.  You're a Hawaiian white boy.  You've been raised on an island riding dirt bikes, fishing, surfing huge waves, free diving, spear fishing, and fighting because your skin is white and your hair is blonde.  You are fast and furious.  You can take these boys.  You're the toughest island boy I know.  Go show them who is boss.  NOW."

Everything changed after that.  Cole realized he WAS tough and he WAS fast and he could be super physical and play a mental game too.   

From there on out, Cole spent a LOT of time in the penalty box and was known for being the kid that could be counted on to take dudes down.  I couldn't be prouder.  He held his chin up and strutted his bad boy self.  All 82lbs.  

They lost every game.  

But instead of losing 15-0, they started losing 5-3 and in the final "loser" bracket, Cole scored an amazing goal within the first thirty seconds which had most of us parents in tears.  After a double overtime, braveheart finish, we lost, again.  The funny thing was though, we saw these boys come together and start out barely being able to catch and throw the ball to an amazing team who had a flow and a chemistry I'll never soon forget.  They all cheered and came together in huge hugs and laughs.  

They were winners to us.   

And yes, Cole is still playing lacrosse and wants to play for Syracuse someday.  

(Better start studying kid.)


It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog!
— Archie Griffin