Emily Jones McCoy is the dugout reporter for the Texas Rangers, owner and co-founder of Posh Play, author of A Place For Everyone, consultant for Rodan+Fields and Scout & Cellar, and president of the Do It For Durrett Foundation. She has a husband (Mike), two children (Henry & Hattie), and a very small filter. You’ve been warned.
I’m so excited to have my first ever guest blog in this space! Jen Mueller serves a similar role as me with the Seattle Mariners organization, and we’ve become friends over the years, swapping stories and helping each other out whenever we can. As an accomplished author, she was instrumental in getting my first children’s book published, and for that, I will be forever grateful. Her forte is effective business communication, which is important in our business and all businesses, for that matter.
Jen’s is smart, talented, witty and uber driven, and I’m thankful to call her a friend. I hope you’ll check out her words here and her work in general. At least read the first two sentences, because she says really nice things about me ;). I kid, I kid.
I adore Emily Jones. She’s funny, smart, talented and gorgeous. She’s also an author thanks to her recently published children’s book “A Place for Everyone.”
Her message is spot on for the intended audience of children, but also for adults who could use a few reminders on the importance of inclusion and relationship building. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a classroom setting or a business environment, building relationships takes bravery and compassion. You have to be brave enough to strike up a conversation and compassionate enough to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. That’s how relationships start.
Emily and I are sports broadcasters. Building relationships with the athletes and coaches we work with is a huge part of what we do. It’s also something you should be doing, regardless of your profession.
Here are five ways to approach conversations that further business relationships.
Ignore the “What if’s”
What if this person doesn’t like me? What if they laugh? What if they don’t want to talk to me? There are a million “What if’s” that can get in the way of not just a great conversation, but a great business connection. Don’t psyche yourself out before the conversation even gets started, especially when those “What if” moments are rarely, if ever, true.
Give good cues
Recognize that other people takes cues from you. Your body language, facial expressions and overall confidence level gives an indication of what the other person can expect. If you’re uncomfortable there’s a good chance the person you’re talking to will be uncomfortable too. Give the right cues and the rest of the conversation gets easier.
Take the initiative
Don’t wait for someone to find you. Be decisive. Find someone to talk to. This is especially if you’re in a networking scenario. You might need to step out of your comfort zone to initiate a conversation but it’s better than hoping the people standing next to you can read your mind and being disappointed when they can’t.
Know the end goal
If you think starting a conversation is awkward, try ending one when you don’t have a specific ask or exit strategy. Know the purpose of the conversation (i.e. making an introduction, inviting someone to join your table, opening the line of communication for a future exchange) and communicate that up front. It’s easier to exit a conversation after you’ve done what you said you were going to do.
Give yourself the benefit of the doubt
Don’t second-guess yourself. You look great. You are smart enough. You are witty enough and you are just the person to offer a kind word and help someone else find their place.
I recommend A Place for Everyone for the kids in your family, and I recommend taking this passage to heart regardless of your age:
“Be the person who walks bravely into a new group and welcomes others into yours. There is a place from everyone. Find your place and help others find theirs.”
Jen Mueller has written three books on business communication to say what Emily Jones McCoy says so simply and brilliantly in her new children’s book, A Place for Everyone. Jen is a veteran sports broadcaster and currently serves as the Seattle Seahawks sideline radio reporter and is a member of the Seattle Mariners television broadcast team. A graduate of Southern Methodist University, Jen founded Talk Sporty to Me in 2009 and teaches business professionals how to improve communication skills using sports conversations.
Link to Jen’s latest book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075G44NBR
Link to Jen’s website: http://www.talksportytome.com
Hi. My name is Emily, and I’m a thinker. And a worrier. And a people pleaser. And a shit show. And a bitch…not all the time, but sometimes.
I’m not really sure what the point of this story is, but I have found that getting thoughts out of my head and into words can be very therapeutic, so this is really just a way for me to clear some space in my brain so I can better retain baseball statistics 😉
A friend of mine recently posted a rambling blog about her anxiety (thank you Lana), and I hung on every word, identifying with every single thing she said. It made me feel so normal to know that someone else had these feelings of apprehension and anxiousness when–to everyone around them–it seemed to be the complete opposite.
And cue the bitch. Here I am finding comfort in someone else’s struggle because it’s similar to mine. So what does that make me? A crazy bitch who wants other people to feel crazy too so I’m not alone in this crazy bitch game??? I mean, I really hope not, but it’s definitely a possibility 😉
And then I had my son’s year-end conference at school. My kid (Henry) is killing kindergarten. I’m so proud. The only concern his teacher expressed was how Henry wants so badly to master every task on his own, without help. And if he doesn’t, he feels like he has failed. I hurt just thinking about what his sweet, 6-year-old heart must be going through. I mean, I’m 40, and I still don’t know how to deal with it.
We’ve seen it in him for awhile. He gets up at 5:45 in the morning because he doesn’t want to be late for school. If we leave the house at 7:32 instead of 7:30, his wheels are completely shot off for the rest of the day.
To be honest, I haven’t known exactly how to deal with it. We do our best not to coddle in our house. There are consequences for actions, and we preach that life isn’t always rainbows and unicorns. But I also want my kids to be able to feel safe with their feelings. And deciphering between a pouty kid and a legitimate issue that needs to be addressed can be a fine line.
And this is what I have come away with. Henry is me. The little girl that slept on top of her covers in her school clothes so she wouldn’t have to waste time getting dressed and making her bed in the morning so she could be on time for school. The little girl who never wanted to fail at anything because she didn’t want to disappoint anyone. And now, the grown ass woman who can’t just be still and whose mind rarely stops racing.
As his mom, I just want to do the right by him, even though I don’t exactly know what that looks like. I want him to know that it’s ok to strive for perfection, but I also want him to know that there is no way in hell that’s ever going to happen. And that’s ok. It’s more than ok. That’s just life–for him and all of us.
I want him to be able to talk to me about his fears and his insecurities. I want him to embrace his weaknesses so he can learn from them and be stronger for it. I want him to know that his mom is a giant shit show, still trying to figure this thing out at every turn too. I want him to mean well and do good, knowing that sometimes intentions don’t always mirror execution.
Above all else, I just don’t want him to feel alone. So if I have to remind him every day that he got this crazy from his mama, that’s what I’m gonna do. Because if nothing else, I hope he’ll find some comfort in knowing he comes by it honestly.
There has been another school shooting, and at this point, I don’t even know what to think or say anymore. I have absolutely no answers or even suggestions as to what to do. I have prayed for the families and friends of those who lost loved ones and will continue to do so. I also won’t apologize for that, because honestly, that’s what I do when I don’t know what else to do.
But I also realize thoughts and prayers aren’t going to keep our kids safe in school, so I want to do more…but what? I can raise my two children to be kind to others and try to set that same example myself, but what else?
It’s difficult to even have reasonable conversations anymore. Everyone is so dug in to their respective “sides” that it’s hard to find any middle ground. And that’s where I am…stuck in the middle.
I’ve voted Republican. I’ve voted Democrat. I support the Second Amendment. We have guns in our house. But also think it’s ludicrous that we have such easy access to freaking semi-automatic weapons. If you know me at all, you know how I feel about politics. And if you don’t know me at all–let me tell you–I hate politics.
But today, a perfect stranger made me realize something (thanks Phil). Maybe it’s time I get over myself and start paying closer attention. So this is what I’m going to do. I’m going to look for organizations–NOT affiliated with a political party–who are working to facilitate change in regard to gun control and see how I can help.
The first one I’m going to look into is Moms Demand Action. I know nothing about them other than I like their Twitter bio–“reasonable solutions to address our nation’s culture of gun violence.” So if anyone has any personal experiences with them, I’d love to hear from you.
I’m also going to give listening a try. Here I am thinking I’m this reasonable down-the-middle chick trying to make sure her kids are safe, but I’m sure there are people on the left who think I’m a nut job and people on the right who think I’ve lost my mind.
So instead of assuming people are crazy because they think differently than me, I’m going to try and find out why they feel the way they do and learn about the experiences that have molded those feelings. If you understand where someone came from you can better understand where they are coming from, if that makes sense.
But full disclosure–I’m only having these conversations with people who are also willing to listen in return. If you look solely to an elephant or a donkey to make all your decisions, I’m out.
So while I still feel utterly helpless, I’m at least going to try and educate myself a little. And try to be nice to more people.
A-Holes and Camel Toes
It’s been a banner week for me on social media. I called my kid (and myself) an asshole on Instagram, and no one even yelled at me. Then I took a picture in a form-fitting dress with a camel, and all hell broke loose.
First, the former. Tuesday, my 6-year-old son Henry had a rough morning. His little sister pissed him off. He pretended to punch her. She cried. And I lost my shit. The “hands to yourself thing” is a big player in our house, mostly because both our kids have a hard time doing it. So when I thought he actually punched her, I did the mean mom march right up to him, threw in some pissed off mom yelling with a healthy mix of stern finger pointing and finished it off with a, “Go get in the car right now. You are grounded.”
There were no words on the short drive to school. I told him I loved him as he got out of the car, he froze me out like Hungry Man TV dinner, and off he went. And off I went to do a commercial shoot in Dallas (I schlep cars in my spare time). But all I could think about was how big of an asshole I was to my kid. He’s six. I’m 40. I should’ve taken the high road. I didn’t. And it killed me.
I had a game that night, and I knew I wouldn’t get to see Henry until the next morning, so I wanted to make things right. I drove back to Fort Worth as quick as I could and pulled Henry out of school so I could apologize. Talk about humble pie. Here I was, the grown up, having to say sorry to the 6-year-old for getting it wrong. Little did I know it would be one of the most liberating and rewarding experiences of my brief parenting career.
I took him to our favorite lunch spot. I told him I was sorry for the way I reacted. And then I called him (and me) an asshole on Instagram (see below). Henry doesn’t know I called either one of us an asshole, and I hope to keep that way for at least 10 years, but strangely enough, I’m glad I did. Because you know what happened? Tons of parents who have been through that same scenario in their house didn’t feel alone. They identified with the fact that I lost my shit and felt the need to apologize to my kid. And their comments made be feel better.
And that makes me do a social media fist pump.
Now to the latter.
The Rangers hold their big charity event, Triple Play, every year, and I love being a part of it. Everyone gets dressed up and cuts loose. It’s a nice change of pace from the grind of a Major League Baseball season. Even though it’s work, I always have a great time. This year’s theme called for a live camel, and who doesn’t want a photo op with a live camel? Ok, maybe a lot of people, but I wasn’t going to miss out on a chance to take a pic with a camel on Hump Day, nonetheless!
I posted it on Twitter with the hilarious caption of “Stop. Camel time.” Let me know when you’re done laughing ;). Anyway, the picture elicited a comment that made me think. It had to do with my dress being tight and insert camel toe joke here. Look, there was an actual camel toe in the picture, so maybe this guy was just trying to be funny. I mean, I appreciate a good camel toe joke as much as the next guy–and lord knows I’ve whiffed on plenty of attempted Twitter jokes–but I felt like there might have been a hint of mean in there, and I wanted to address it.
Was it tight? Damn straight it was. It’s not like I thought I was walking around in sweats and a turtleneck. I felt pretty in that dress. I felt confident in that dress. People said nice things to me in that dress, and I appreciated them. I’m not sure if that guy was trying to shame me or not, but I wanted him to know that it’s cool if he thinks my dress was too tight. I also wanted him to know I didn’t give a shit about what he thinks.
After I sent my response, I wondered if I sounded cocky and vain. Maybe I did. But you know what? I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to look pretty and feel confident. And whether it’s a bandage dress (thanks to my former roomie and fashionista Meredith Land for letting me know that’s what it’s called) or a potato sack that does it for you, get after it! It’s such a fine line with women, particularly in my line of work, but it shouldn’t be. I mean I’m not showing up at the ballpark in a bikini anytime soon, but you get the point.
And I totally get that when you put something out there on social media, you’ve got to be prepared for feedback. Isn’t that what it’s all about? But that feedback isn’t always going to be positive, so you have to decide how you’re going to handle it. Ignore it or address it. In this case, I wanted to address it, and I’m glad I did.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever rolled your eyes or been annoyed by someone’s “sales” post on social media?
Me, me, me, me!!! <<<insert brunette emoji raising her hand here>>>
I hear ya. Been there. Still go there. Sometimes, but not as much as I used to. Not since I went over to the dark side and started <gasp> selling stuff. And I sell a lot of stuff. I sell baby gear and cars and skin care and iSantaCams and wine…and I am proud to sell every one of them. But that wasn’t always the case. I’m not going to lie, I used to clown those people being all sappy on social media about their latest business venture or multi-level marketing opportunity…and honestly, sometimes I still do…not because those aren’t real and true sappy posts, that just hasn’t been my experience. But you know what? We all come from different experiences. Mine are below, so if you’re not interested, just keep scrolling.
For the better part of two decades, all of my professional energy went into my television career, but as I got older and life circumstances changed, so too, did my perspective. Real talk here–I’m not getting any younger, and the shelf-life of 40-something sports reporters are up there with a gallon of milk. I kid…kind of 😉 So rather than crying in my wine when that phase of my life comes to a close–which will probably happen regardless–I would prefer to have some things in place that will help fill that professional void. And that’s what I’ve done over the last five years.
It started with Posh Play, a company my best friend from high school and I started right after my son, Henry, was born. We had no intention of starting a business, but five years later, Posh Play is still alive and kicking. I remember the first time I took our products out in front of people. I was terrified. What if they didn’t like our play mats? What if they didn’t like the colors of our diaper clutches? And you know what? Some didn’t like them…but some did…kind of like every other damn thing in this world. And you know what else? That feeling I got when someone said something positive about their Posh Play Mat made me forget about that feeling of terror from before…at least for a little while 😉
And from there, I haven’t passed up an opportunity I felt was worth pursuing. From iSantaCam (and with the holidays upon us, you really should check out isantacam.com) to Rodan & Fields to Scout & Cellar, I’m not above a little side hustle.
While we’re on the subject, a quick note to those considering a multi-level marketing business but are apprehensive because you’re afraid your friends are going to make fun of you and people are going to worry that you’re hard-up for money. I get it. I was there. Then I decided to give it a try, in my own way, absent of the #bossbabe hashtags and “life-changing results.” I used Rodan & Fields for two years before I started selling it…huge mistake. My paychecks are nice now, but they would’ve been REALLY nice if I wouldn’t have been so worried about what people were going to think about a few skin care posts on Facebook. Lesson learned.
So now I’m schlepping wine. I had the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a brand new company called Scout and Cellar, started by a Dallas attorney-turned-sommelier Sarah Shadonix. Basically she was tired of wine headaches and went in search of clean-crafted wines, absent of the chemical additives that are the main culprit of those next-day head pains. And thus, Scout and Cellar was born. Now you know I love me some wine, but I was a bit skeptical of how “clean-crafted” wine would taste, but after a healthy sampling, I was on board. Who knows what will come of it, but I’m going to have a front row seat to see what happens with a glass of wine in hand.
So whether it’s your own start up or an MLM, you do you, and screw everybody else. If it’s not your thing, kick ass. If it is, go for it.
And if you’re super annoyed by someone’s social media post promoting their business (or five, in my case ;), keep in mind everyone who follows you isn’t exactly all in on what you ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner, or what workout you did that day, or what designer you’re wearing, but if they follow you, it’s because they’re interested in you—not everything you’re interested in–but you. If you’re not into it, all you have to do is scroll on by. It’s that simple.
But remember this–we’re all selling something. If it’s not a product or a service, you’re selling yourself and how you want people to perceive you, by the links you share, the pictures you post, or the comments you “like”. All of those things are your sales pitch to the people who “follow” you.
So if you’re not interested, just keep scrolling 🙂
Random Observation: Hattie (my 4-year-old) told me today her skin was growing hair. I laughed. But it’s an accurate statement.
Recipe: I was going to give you something that involved shredded chicken, because I boiled two whole chickens Sunday night and shredded the meat so I could make some kickass casseroles, but I left said shredded chicken out overnight and had to throw it out. Seriously. So go have dinner at your favorite restaurant!!!
I often wonder if Adrian Beltre always had this much fun playing baseball. In full disclosure, I knew very little of AB before he got to Texas. When I started covering the Rangers predominately in 2007, he was with the Mariners. I heard the name, knew the numbers, but that was about it. He spent one season in Boston, and then Jon Daniels made perhaps the best decision of his professional career.
I will never forget that press conference. I was asked to do a one-on-one interview with Beltre after his introduction. I was terrified. I have no idea why, but I was so intimidated by him. (Thank goodness he doesn’t know how to work the internet, so he will never read this). He was effusive in his praise for his former organizations, he was respectful of his former and soon-to-be teammates (one in particular—looking at you, MY), and he was genuinely happy to be a Texas Ranger.
I left that interview feeling as if we were best friends…BAHAHAHAHAHA! Truth: I was scared shitless of Adrian Beltre for at least two years. Honestly. It wasn’t his fault. He was always courteous and respectful and willing to do whatever was asked of him. But there was something about him that was intimidating…an aura that is difficult to describe. Fast forward seven years later, and now I know why.
<Insert cheesy instrumental music here>
Because he’s special. He gets it. He always knows what to say and do. He does all the little things that people don’t even realize he’s doing, but still they can feel the effects of those actions without even knowing he’s responsible for them. It’s like he’s a ninja sniper superhero! Not sure if that even makes sense, but it’s the best analogy I’ve got at this point?!?
I can’t remember exactly when I stopped being terrified of him, but it probably involved him yelling at me, which is the highest compliment in the baseball clubhouse world. And in the years since then I have marveled at him ( I know, so cheesy, but bear with me). Seeing how he goes about his work, cares for his family, his teammates, his job, this organization and its fan base, and does it all while playing at the most ridiculous level of baseball is something to behold.
I interviewed him for a Rangers Foundation event a couple of years ago, and it went something like this:
Me: Adrian, I tell people all the time that even if they don’t like baseball, they should come to a game, sit on the third base side and do nothing but watch you from the first pitch to the final out, and they’ll get their money’s worth. What do you think about that?
Adrian: I think you’re weird. Why would you say that?
<Crowd erupts in laughter, of course>
Me: Because it’s the truth.
And it is.
Beltre’s “on-deck-circle-dragging-ejection” this week was further proof of that. He’s dressed as a clubbie and shined shoes in the dugout while on the DL, he’s played patty cake on the base paths with opposing base runners, he’s danced in the batter’s box, and gone to one knee on a home run so many times it’s become his signature. All the while, he’s played this game and his position as the highest level possible…and doing it while having more fun than any human should be allowed.
So as Adrian Beltre closes in on 3,000 career hits—the most ever by a Dominican-born player—I would like to say thank you. Thank you for making the last seven years fun, regardless of score or outcome. Thank you for working your ass off for your team and your family. Thank you for setting the tone in that clubhouse. I will forever be grateful for all of it.
I’ll make this brief, as I’m trying to limit my screen time.
I’m one of those moms. You don’t know me. That’s the point. How do you know I haven’t been momming so hard all day—with crafts and activities and field trips—that all I want to do is sit down at MiCocina and have a Mambo Taxi and some adult conversation without a thousand “mommies” being hurled my way???
I’m not saying that’s always the case, but sometimes it is. Regardless, it’s none of your business!!!
And how do you know what my kids are doing on their iPads? Last time I checked, they’re issuing them in schools these days. My 6-year-old and 4-year-old are learning to read and spell on theirs. Don’t get me wrong, they are also watching plenty of Trolls and playing their fair share of Minecraft, kind of like I did with Scooby Doo and Frogger when I was little. Not trying to defend the iPad (maybe I am), but it’s not like they’re playing with asbestos at the dinner table here!
You are obviously entitled to your opinion, as I am mine, but unless something my children are doing directly affects you, you can save your breath and your keystrokes. Don’t worry, my kids wear headphones, so you can’t hear a thing.
I would be far more concerned with my children’s attempt to shame and judge others with their words and looks than a little extra screen time at a restaurant.
I’m so glad you have this whole parenting thing squared away, but on behalf of those of us who are still trying to figure it out, KEEP YOUR EYES ON YOUR OWN PAPER!!!
It seems everyone these days has an opinion…on everything. Not only that, everyone now has a platform (or eight) in which to share said opinions. I’m all for it. It used to be that the only people who were able to have their opinions be heard were those who had a “proper platform”. Now you can create your own platform, jump onto other people’s platforms, and even switch platforms midstream. All’s fair in love, war and social media.
In that vain, I would like to share my thoughts on the new-look Rangers broadcast team. Let me start by saying I love Tom Grieve. I adore Steve Busby. Jim Knox is as good a dude you’ll find in this business, or anywhere for that matter. My former producer—Kurt Deichert—became a dear friend while working together for the better part of a decade.
Change is hard. I get it. I’m am one of the most resistant-to-change people you will ever meet. It’s comfortable to be that way, and who doesn’t like comfort? I mean, seriously. So when more than a few changes were made to the Rangers television broadcast in the off season, I wasn’t sure how to take them. I was sad because I wouldn’t be working with people I had worked alongside for so many years and so many great moments, people who taught me so much and helped me get the sweetest spot in my professional life.
I assume this is how much of the Rangers fan base was left feeling, as well. Sad. Because they forged relationships with the guys who they let in their living room every night. Even if they didn’t actually know the people on the other side of the screen, they felt like they did…and that’s a testament to the job they did.
Now back to that opinion you’ve all been dying to hear. (If there was a sarcasm font available, I definitely would’ve used it on the previous sentence 😉 So here it is:
Dave Raymond and CJ Nitkowski are good at what they do. Very good. They ma y be different than what you are used to, but they are smart and talented and highly qualified to do what they do. And you know what else? They care. They are about the Rangers. They care about you, as fans. They care what you think. And maybe it’s the Mother Hen coming out in me, but I feel the need to provide a little defense here.
The two of them are working their tails off to learn everything they can about this organization—it’s history, it’s players, it’s employees (CJ asks me every day the name of a different employee he sees in the media dining room). And I know for a fact they respond to the vast majority—if not all—of the feedback they get, both positive and negative.
My point is, they are doing it right. We are all trying to. Lord knows my comedic stylings in the stands are a far cry from Jim Knox, but I’m doing my best. The new—and old—faces in the production truck are working every day to bring the best perspective possible to our telecasts.
No one likes criticism, but if you’re a rational human being, you get it (even though it sucks), so I’m not asking for unicorns and rose petals for me or my new teammates, just don’t be so stuck in your ways that you can’t even see anything different. All I’m asking is that you give these fools a chance, all of us.
Random Observation: The beach is so amazing, but can you imagine how cool it would be if there was no sand?!?!
Recipe: Download the FAVOR app on your smart phone, order from your favorite restaurant and have it delivered to your house. Listen, it’s baseball season. My ability to mail it in on dinner knows no bounds.
They say timing is everything. I’m not sure who “they” are, but they’re right. I was supposed to be knee-deep into retirement right now, instead, I’m gearing up for yet another run on the roller coaster ride known as a Major League Baseball season. I planned on retiring after last season. It seemed like the right time, the right decision for my family.
The 2015 season was a tough one. My kids were in the midst of what I fondly refer to as the “asshole stage”—I mean that in the most loving way possible—which made everything just a little more difficult than it already was…and by a little, I mean a lot ;). So after 2015, I decided 2016 would be my last season. I wanted to give myself, my family and our support system a finish line. I felt like we all needed it.
Among my numerous character flaws is my reluctance to ask for help. But when you have two kids, a husband who works and a job that revolves around nights and weekends, you really have no choice but to ask for help—and a lot of it. I’ve gotten better about it over time, but the struggle is real. So when my kids were in the midst of the anatomy stage I mentioned previously, the mommy guilt reached an all-time high.
For those unfamiliar with mommy guilt, I’m certain it’s not exclusive to moms who work outside the home, but I do know it’s more prevalent and talked about ad nauseam among working moms. It’s the constant worry that you’re missing something in your children’s lives that they’re sure to never forgive you for—the class party, the baseball game, the bedtime story—and the ensuing feeling of guilt that makes you want to vomit. Yup, that pretty much sums it up.
I figured if I hung up the microphone, I wouldn’t have to ask for near as much help and my mommy guilt would disappear. I was so sure about my decision I informed the Rangers when I signed my contract that 2016 would be it and even recommended a replacement. I told those close to me, and even convinced myself I was ready. After all, I was pushing 40 (emphasis on pushing), and half these dudes are young enough to be my nephews 😉
Then in March of last year, my daddy died. Rocked my world. To say the two of us were close would be like saying Adrian Beltre has a marginally good time playing baseball. The two weeks between his death and the start of baseball season were the most difficult of my life. By the time Opening Day rolled around, I couldn’t wait to get to the ballpark. I welcomed the structure and the atmosphere in that clubhouse. I needed that. I needed the distraction. I needed normal, and the controlled chaos of a Major League Baseball season is my normal.
The season played on, and I held firm to my retirement plans…until the last week of August. That’s when I got a call from my mother in law. She said she wanted to talk to me, soon and in person. She came over the next evening and made quite the sales pitch.
Her message went something like this: I don’t buy for one second that you’re ready to walk away from this job. You’re doing this because you think it’s what’s best for everyone around you, but what you don’t realize is that we want to help. We don’t view it as a chore. Your work situation gives us an added dimension to our relationships with the kids that we wouldn’t have otherwise.
The “we” my mother in law was referring to is the army of people who help care for our kiddos. For some, it takes a village. For us, it takes an army. The words she said that night affected me in a way I wasn’t prepared for, and for the first time in months, doubt crept into my mind that I might not be making the right decision. Two days later, Rougie walked it off against the Mariners, and that creeping doubt was flat out stalking me.
If you don’t remember the game, Rougie put his team in a bind by running into an out on the bases late in the game (his second of the night), drawing the ire of one Adrian Beltre in the dugout. I remember watching him make that walk to the dugout, tail tucked between his legs, obviously knowing his mistake long before AB gave him a love tap on the cheek and reminded him of the fine line between aggressive and reckless base running. Growing pains can be a bitch.
The Rangers trailed 7-6 headed in to the bottom of the 9th. Beltre led off with a single, setting up the perfect atonement opportunity for Odor. And he delivered with a shot to straightaway center field to give the Rangers a 8-7 walkoff win over the Mariners. He was mobbed at home plate by his teammates in what had to have been a celebration equal parts joy and relief.
Still out of breath, Rougie gave—in my opinion—his best interview ever. He was relaxed. He was confident. He was honest about his mistake and effusive in his praise for Adrian Beltre and the lessons he has taught him. It was the Rougned Odor I see on a daily basis….and it was a far cry from the timid young man who arrived in Arlington a couple of years ago, so sure of his baseball talents but so unsure of how to communicate with the media and fans, in general.
As we walked up the tunnel that night (cue the sappy music here), I hugged him so big and told him how perfect that interview was and how proud I was of him.
His response? “Really, Emmy?”
Mine? “Really, Rougie.” And then I might have gotten something in my eye. Don’t judge.
Anyway, the point is this. That moment—sandwiched in between that back porch conversation with my mother in law and a Thai lunch with Jon Daniels—made me realize how much I love my job and that I wasn’t ready to hang it up just yet. The right time will come, I’m just not quite sure yet when that will be. Until then, I’m going to enjoy the ride and let my gratitude grow for those who love my family and keep my mommy guilt at a manageable level.
Let the shit show begin again!
Random Thought: Why do people insist on telling you about their March Madness brackets? Is this what people without kids feel like when I talk to them about mine???
10-Minute Turkey Tacos
1 lb. ground turkey
1 packet taco seasoning
1 jar taco sauce
Uncle Ben’s 90-second Mexican rice
Brown turkey. Add seasoning and sauce to taste.
Warm tortillas in foil in the oven.
Top with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and avocado.
Heat rice up in the microwave.
If you want to hear the political musings of a middle-aged, people-loving, news-avoiding mother of two, you have come to the right place. If that sentence in itself makes your skin crawl (which it very well may), do yourself a favor and stop reading now.
1. I don’t watch the news. In fact, I avoid it at all costs. It’s depressing. I’d rather watch trash TV (looking at you, Real Housewives) to take my mind off of all the real shit going on in the world. Selfish? Sure. Irresponsible? Probably. But that’s the truth.
2. I’ve voted Democrat and Republican in my life, which makes me able to piss off twice as many people as I would’ve otherwise.
3. I am not educated enough to speak on policies, foreign or domestic. Maybe this shit show will cause me to change that…but probably not. Let’s be real. I barely have time to read an US Weekly these days, and honestly the thought of it sounds exhausting. Again, just being real here.
So most of my “news” comes from social media…and what a disaster that is. So much misinformation and snark and hatefulness. It’s gross. I admire the hell out of the people who educate themselves so that they can have an informed opinion on what is going on, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that’s a small percentage relative to those who position themselves as knowing the totality of what they post and comment on.
To those who have educated themselves—and used those facts to form opinions absent of a political affiliation—props to you. Mad props to you. You have taken the time to do the research, open your mind, formulate a thought, and share it with others. I wish there were more like you, so you could help educate me. But right now, I can’t see the educated forest for the uneducated trees. And if you think I’m talking about your side, you’re wrong—and right—because I’m talking about both.
Instead of searching for articles and opinions that align with yours, how about seeking out information that challenges you to consider another point of view? And for goodness sake, at the very least take the time to read the information you’re sharing and make sure it’s coming from a legitimate source.
To those who feel moved to stand up and be heard and seen—good on you. I hope you feel empowered and that those around you feel the same. We all have causes, and whatever yours is, get behind it. Whole heartedly. But remember that someone else my have a cause different than yours, and they feel equally as strong.
I’ve come to realize in the last few weeks/months/years (hell, all my life), that I really don’t know much, but here’s what I do know. I can control what goes on in my house. I can teach my kids to be kind and tolerant and forgiving and open-minded. I can teach them that the things that make us different are what makes this crazy sphere go round and round, that this life would be so freaking boring if we all thought and believed and acted alike. I can teach them to hold strong in their beliefs, and at the same time, let others hold strong in theirs. We all come from different places—literally and figuratively—so we are bound to have different experiences that mold us into the people we are and the beliefs that we have. Embrace that, but always be respectful of others doing the same damn thing.
I can do good things in my little part of this world. I can give of my time, my money and my deeds to better my community. I can treat people with acceptance and kindness. I can try to help those who need it. Damn, that sounds hokey, but oh well, that’s about all I’ve got in me. I’m going to do my best to make my little bubble a little better and hope you ass-kicking, world-changers take care of the rest, knowing all the while those changes might not be in line with everything I believe.
In the meantime, I’ll keep being a fence-riding, smut TV-watching mom trying to raise her kids not to be assholes while trying to do a little bit of good in my community.
Random Thought: Why are they still playing the Pro Bowl?
Recipe: Order craft pizza–people will think you’re fancy. I told you I’m terrible at cooking. It’s important to have a good go-to craft pizza delivery. You’re welcome.