Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Who Are You? A Topic for Each Week of the Year {Week 3: Hobbies}

Week 1: Name/Birth
Week 2: School

3. What were your hobbies as a child? Were you interested in sports?

This could be a long one.
Sorry the picutres are cut off--my scanner isn't big enough for this scrapbook! Top L to R: NJB basketball, NJB All-Stars, NJB Basketball, Summerlin League Softball; Middle L to R: Angels softball, NJB All-stars, Summerlin League Soccer, clogging; Bottom L to R: Vipers (club basketball), Summerlin League Soccer; Summerlin League Soccer Referee.

I had a lot of hobbies when I was a kid. I'll start with the two biggest non-sport hobbies.

Reading: If I had to choose my very favorite hobby as a child (and teenager and adult), I'd definitely choose reading. It's not even a contest. I was always reading. And I mean always. People read going to the bathroom. I didn't just read going to the bathroom--I read IN THE SHOWER. I'm not joking about that. I'd take my book in with me and keep reading for the first few minutes of being in the water. When I was ready to wash my hair and such, I'd toss my book out. After I accidentally dropped a book in the shower (the horror!) I stopped bringing books in with me. I also started showering a lot more quickly.My family would always joke that they'd have entire conversations with me while I was reading--I'd be responding and everything--and then a couple minutes after the conversation ended, I'd look up and say, "What?" I was sneaky at bedtime. I'd leave the closet light on (it didn't shine out under the door and wouldn't alert my parents that I was awake) and read when I was supposed to go to bed. When my mom realized what I was doing, she lectured me about ruining my eyes and got a book light for me. I remember a friend gave me a book light for my birthday that was shaped like a monkey--the light was his tail. It was my favorite gift that year.

When I was in elementary school, I racked up a ton of accelerated reader points--so many that I actually made the National Accelerated Reader Honor Roll. The first chapter book I read by myself was Ramona Quimby, Age 8. I believe I was in second grade; my teacher Mrs. Hallisey knew I was ready for chapter books, so gave me Ramona. I was hooked from that point on. I still remember parts of the book, particularly one memorable part where Ramon is trying to follow a trend by cracking a hard-boiled egg on her head in the lunchroom at school--but her egg isn't hard boiled. She has to go to the office to get cleaned up and overhears the secretary say the word "nuisance." Ramona was worried that she was the nuisance. I had no idea how to even pronounce "nuisance" but I loved the word. My elementary school librarian, Mrs. Doyle, was amazing. She kept me in chapter books. She only had one misfire: Black Beauty. I didn't like it, but I read it anyway because I can't not read a book (and it was worth a TON of accelerated reader points).

No matter what I do, this picture will NOT flip. Anyway, three years of Becker Middle School Bighorn Basketball. 
Piano: I would be lying if I called piano a hobby of mine when I was a child. But by the time I got to high school, I loved playing the piano. I attribute this to two variables: first, I had progressed to the point where I could play most things I wanted to without too much difficulty; second, we'd moved away from my lifelong piano teacher and I no longer took lessons. Absence (and not having to practice) makes the heart grow fonder.

I was PUMPED to start piano lessons. My teacher, Denise Gregory, was one of my mom's long time friends. Mandi, Kenny, and Lynnie all took lessons from Denise. Denise wouldn't start teaching you lessons until you were eight and by the time my eighth birthday finally rolled around, I was beyond ready to start. Denise is a fantastic piano teacher and, beyond just learning the notes on the keys, she taught theory, too. She was very tough, though, especially as I got older and more capable. We had a notebook where she wrote down which songs I was assigned for the week. I had to make a practice chart each week and practice each song a certain number of times during the week (usually 3 times each on five different days). I usually had around 4 or 5 songs I was working on at a time, so practice was certainly required. I wasn't always the best practice-er, and had to repeat songs for another week or sometimes even two more weeks on occasion--but I learned so much from Denise. I was at her house once a week for my half-hour lesson, then doing homework during Lynnie's half-hour lesson, so I spent a lot of time with her (in addition to seeing her when she and my mom would get together). She called us funny nicknames and, if we did good enough at our lesson, we always got to choose a treat out of her bucket. I can still hear her saying "whoops" every time I hit a wrong note as I played my songs for her at lessons!

We had recitals twice yearly. Once our recital was right near Halloween and we were allowed to dress up. I wore my Princess Jasmine costume. The boy I was sitting next to was wearing a Grim Reaper costume and I was totally freaked out (I was in first grade, I think). I was nervous the entire time. For the recitals, we went in order from the lowest level students to the most advanced students. Where you were in the program showed how good you were, essentially. I took lessons from Denise for six years; I started at the beginning of the recital and, by the time I stopped taking lessons, the only two people ahead of me were my sister and her friend. We had to memorize our recital pieces. We took our music to the recital and put it under our chair so Denise could rescue us if need be. I never forgot my recital pieces and can still play most of one piece from memory (though I don't remember its name).

When we moved to St. George when I was 14, I really did miss my piano lessons. And, unfortunately, we didn't continue lessons--the only teachers who taught at the level Denise had taken us up to were at the college. But playing the piano really did become a hobby and I'd often sit at the piano and just play.

On to a non-sport/kind of sport, depending on who you ask: clogging. When I was really young, I did ballet and tap with my little best friends (Lauren Bunker and Laurel Ence).I was never passionate about it, but had a good time. Eventually, my sister and I both got into clogging. Our teacher was Ann Kern and our dance company was the Vegas Valley Cloggers. Clogging may seem kind of weird, but it is actually a lot of fun! I had a weekly dance lesson. Lynnie's lesson was right after mine, so I'd hang out at the studio and do homework until her lesson was over. I honestly don't know how good or bad I was, but I was usually on the front row so that's got to be a sign that I was at least decent, right? Every year, we performed at the Logandale Fair, another fair or two, sometimes a parade (you try clogging and moving forward!) and have a yearly recital for parents and friends. One year we got to travel to California and perform at Disney Magic Music Days.

My mom was friends with Ann from church (we were in the same stake), and is a very talented seamstress, so she would often sew costumes for entire dance classes. Seriously. My best friend in my clogging class was Emily. She was a little younger than me (not much, though), and we would often partner up for dances that required pairs.

And now on to sports!

Softball: I'll start with softball, because it was never a big passion of mine and I was never very good at it! I started playing when I was in first grade (I think) and played until fourth grade. My first team was the Angels. Our uniforms were red (why do I remember that?). My second and third years I had a great coach--but I don't remember his name, of course. My last year, my coach was my friend Hilary's dad. He was also a great coach. Our team name was the American Girls, like the dolls. We were all pretty embarrassed by that!

Soccer: Soccer was my first love. I was good at soccer. I was strong, could kick the ball really far, and was not as slow as I looked, which worked to my advantage. I loved playing defense, even though everyone else loved offense. I also enjoyed midfield, but defense was my real favorite. I was put in at goalie once on one of my very first teams. We were the Little Mermaids (what is with these teams names?) and our uniforms were neon pink. My coach was actually the same coach I liked from softball. Anyway, I hated being goalie. I got scored on and felt terrible about it. Luckily, I got to stick to defense after that. I played soccer all through elementary and middle school. Then, in ninth grade, I tried out for the high school team and didn't make it. There wasn't a freshman team, so only a few very talented ninth graders made the team, but I was pretty crushed that I wasn't among them. I played city league that year, though, and had a really great coach--Craig Nebeker. My good friend Nicole was on the team with me (where we discovered we were "twins"--long story) and I had a fantastic time. I learned a lot that year and really improved my soccer skills. I legitimately think I would have made the soccer team my sophomore year--Coach Nebeker was kind of disappointed I didn't try out--but I decided to go for volleyball instead.

Top left: (Top L to R:) Emalee Littlepage, Lindsey North. (Bottom L to R: )Me, Karinne Bentley. My best volleyball friends that year!
Volleyball: I loved soccer--but I really loved volleyball. My middle school started a volleyball skills clinic when I was in sixth grade. My friends and I all went, as did my sister, and I had a great time. I was terrible, but I had a great time. In ninth grade, I planned to try out for the volleyball team. But we had just moved to St. George, I had already had the disappointment of not making the soccer team, and I talked myself out of trying out. I immediately regretted it. My dad talked to the coach for me and I was able to be the manager and practice with the freshman team. I learned a lot, but I felt kind of silly at times since I wasn't actually on the team and never got to play. Stacy, the freshman coach, was really good to me, though, and always involved me.

I got brave my sophomore year and actually tried out for the team--and I made it! I was a defensive specialist and got a lot of playing time. I loved my coach, Cheryl Bentley. And my teammates were so much fun. We would have "team night" and end up hanging out together for hours. We did all kinds of stuff together as a team. That team was probably the most united one I've ever played on. After the season ended, I wanted to continue playing volleyball--so I started playing club volleyball for the Redrock Club. The coaches were Richard Downer, Stacy (from my freshman team) and Coach Hentosh, who coached at Pine View High School. I think that club season was pivotal for me--I improved so much and really enjoyed the game. Richard Downer gave my sister and I a few training sessions, with my dad taking copious notes. That summer, I spent many, many hours at our church gym practicing volleyball with my dad. He'd toss my a ball and I'd pass it into a trash can, which was at the setter spot. As I got better, we moved from a quite large trash can to the small classroom cans.

My junior year came and I was ready for volleyball. I made the varsity team, again as a defensive specialist. Coach Parker, the head varsity coach, told me that at the end of my sophomore season she never would have expected that I would make varsity. (I took it as a compliment!) I dressed for JV and Varsity--and, unfortunately, I never played varsity. Because I didn't practice with the JV team, I never played JV, either. I spent a lot of time on the bench. Partway through the season, Coach Parker, moved me and the other defensive specialist, Hillary, down to the JV gym for practices.  My friend Valerie Crump (the JV DS) moved to the varsity gym. I was crushed. But I finally got JV playing time and started to improve again. Coach Ann Esplin, the JV Coach, was instrumental in my improvement. My junior year was not my best, but it was okay.

I played club again that year with Redrock and got to play libero. I loved being a libero because I got to be on the floor basically the entire game. We had a great season. My senior year rolled around and I made the varsity volleyball team again. This year I actually got to play--I was a regular part of the rotation. We won our region and got third place in the state tournament that year! It was so disappointing to not win the state champion title--but, honestly, we were a young and kind of short team who no one expected us to place in the top five, so we were pretty proud of third. I made really good friends with Valerie Crump, Kenna Cannon, and Heidi Wittwer, who all played with me. Val, Heidi, and I were on the Academic All-State Team that year. The awards were handed out minutes after we finished our last game, so we had to make a mad dash to change, then stand in the middle of the court, sweaty in our dresses. Our last game of the season was the game where we placed third. We were playing Pine View, who was from our own region. And the club team I had played on was composed of Pine View players, one Dixie player, and me--so I was friends with every girl on the opposing team. The victory was a sweet one.

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