brother

Congratulations & Thanks, Little Brother

Yesterday my little brother graduated high school.

*takes a moment to process this*

At 5 o’clock, the school staff ushered us in single file. I walked passed smiling siblings and proud fathers and anxious mothers; aunts and uncles and cousins and teachers; girlfriends and boyfriends and best friends. I knew almost none of them, and yet I knew how they felt when they woke up in the morning, and I knew how they felt walking in the school gates that afternoon. We all shared the same look in our eyes. We all had those smiles that were hard to suppress. We were all so proud.

For me, it was strange more than emotional. As the ceremony started and tissues were shuffled through the audience, I couldn’t help but sit silent, thinking. How is it, I thought, How is it that the infant who used to laugh when I tickled him, the toddler who used to call me “Supergirl”, the boy who used to wake up early to watch me play video games on Saturday mornings, and the teenager who used to ask me for a ride to karate class, how is it that they’d all grown up into this man that stood before me in a cap and gown? How had they become someone I look up to, that makes me laugh, that is my own personal superhero?

As the name of each student began to be called, cheers came in bursts around the audience. Families and friends stood and shouted, hoping to showcase their pride and spread it outward. We were no different. When my brother’s name was called we waved our fists and wooed our “woos”, hoping to let my brother know we were proud of him, and to let the crowd he was ours. And as dozens of other families followed suit, I began to realize why I didn’t feel sad so much as dizzy.

Yes, it was crazy to think that my baby brother, the boy who, over the years, has led people to believe he was my son (which we took advantage of and pulled pranks), my stepbrother (which made no sense because we are essentially the same human), and—after a colossal growth spurt—my boyfriend (which, ew), this boy was graduating high school and could now legally drive, vote, and serve jury duty. Yes, this was off-putting, but not sad. For I had known the baby who grew into a boy who grew into a teenager and then into a man, and seeing him take this next step forward was like accepting an invitation to meet the man he will soon become.

So as the caps began to fly, my heart began to swell. The dizziness had been overtaken by anticipation. I walked through the crowd to find my brother and gave him a big hug, anxious to tell him of all the things I know he’s yet to accomplish. I wished him “congratulations” but what I really meant was “thank you.” Thank you for letting me be a part of your world, and thank you for offering me a front row seat to watch you conquer it. May the future only hold good things for you, crazy things, preferably things that include pizza and In N Out Burger. May you always be brave enough to be yourself and kind enough to let others do the same. May you never stop letting me call you Bub, and may we never stop taking this picture.

IMG_6025

IMG_6043

ACF1E5BF-39B6-4271-BF98-959656A499A6

When Your Brother Plays Lacrosse…

I have a very sports oriented family. We’ve all played a sport, and we all love getting together to watch sports. Any sport. Baseball, football, basketball, hockey, soccer, golf, you name it.

“Lacrosse.”

What?

“Lacrosse,” my brother, Troy, said after school one day, “I’m going to try out for the lacrosse team.”

Oh.

My mom, dad, sister, and I exchanged a glance and shrugged our shoulders. “Okay, lacrosse it is. We know lacrosse.”

We didn’t know lacrosse.

Watching Troy’s first few games, I felt like someone walking into a mall on Black Friday for the first time. Wow, I thought, this seems chaotic. And complicated. And violent. I love it.

But even after we found ourselves glued to the “this is Sparta-esque” charging and slicing and dodging, we still had absolutely no concept of what the rules were. As a result, my family and I often yelled inappropriate (and by inappropriate, I mean probably undoubtedly frowned upon) things from the sidelines.

Some too innocent: “Hey, don’t do that!”

Some too violent: “Chop his damn legs off!”

And some Troy (understandably) vetoed: “Poke him with your stick!”

Over time however, we’ve learned (most of) the rules and have spent long days sitting on turf in fold up chairs, fully capable of having discussions about different calls or strategies, while still remaining fully invested in, and attracted to the violence. (TBD on whether you should be worried)

My brother’s school season is set to start up again next week, and though it is still a relatively new sport to the west coast, it’s growing fast. So, if you are someone like me, who likes to have all the knowledge about all the things, here are 5 things I’ve learned, both about the game and about myself as a fan:

 

1) Lacrosse is essentially the love child of field hockey, football, soccer and aggressive butterfly catching.

Pro tip to get your kids training early:

elefun

 

2) Girls lacrosse is non-contact.

Which is a bummer, but would have come as a relief if I ever played, because I know myself well enough to be sure that the second an opposing player rammed into me in an attempt to get the ball, I’d undoubtedly go into self-defense mode and probably be dragged off the field for “unnecessary roughness” or “attempted murder.”

 

3) The necessary hand-eye coordination is real.

I played softball for 7 years, but the moment I tried to play catch with my brother using his lacrosse sticks, this became a moot point, and remains one to this day. I’ve honestly never felt less coordinated in my life than when I try to toss a lacrosse ball two feet in the air and then catch it. I always end up feeling like…you know those chefs who cook in front of you in Japanese restaurants and can crack eggs on the side of their spatula? Yeah, I feel like one of them, if they showed up to work completely and totally hammered. (Or you know, what I look like dead sober trying to do any of those tricks.)

 

4) There is more to the equipment than meets the eye.warrior-lacrosse-complete-stick-evo-universal-color-chartIn short, I look at my brother’s lacrosse stick the way he looks at one of my makeup brushes. It seems good enough to do its job and could probably make a great substitute microphone if the right song came on. On the reverse side of that, my brother looks at his stick the way I look at waffles. Honestly, I think he would 100% consider trading me in for a new stick, head, or pair of gloves if the opportunity arose. (As I would him for an authentic Belgian waffle) (Just kidding, Troy) (Kind of)

 

5) Bucket hats are the new black.

My brother and I went to the Major League Lacrosse (MLL) All-Star Game last year, and upon arriving, I quickly noticed and awed over the intense amount of bucket hats worn by the fans. It’s not that I have anything against bucket hats, I just feel like, you know, I missed the mark on popular lacrosse fashion. Had my baseball hat at a lacrosse game been the equivalent of a guy wearing shoes at the beach? Again, TBD. Though if my brother plays in college, I’m totally buying one, because history proves I can ROCK one:

bucket-hat

A true style icon.

 

Oh, and one more thing, “lacrosse” is often abbreviated to LAX, like in laxative, which works, because it moves quick…

 

…Come on, Troy, that was a good one.