Come here, Baby Girl, and sit in my lap.
The seat where you have watched college football games with Daddy since you were born. The same spot where I have watched you waffle back and forth between dreaming of being an Alabama cheerleader or a football player. You have plenty of time to figure that out, but today I want to tell you a story.
When I was your age, my grandfather told me about Rose Bowls in black and white. My father told me about Namath and Stabler. I watched Hannah, then Krauss and a multitude of champions since. Your brother had it different than you when he was growing up. He heard the same stories and witnessed for himself Barker, Ingram, Cam and Trent. He has seen the trophies held up by boys many times.
You are different from your brother who has always believed that where two are gathered together, there should be a scoreboard. You are of dance and soccer is a social event. I think that’s great because parenthood is even sweeter when the joy comes from two entirely different directions. You may or may not become competitive in sports, but if you do, there are some things I want you to know.
I’ve pointed out the beautiful gymnasts and you flipped out. I’ve mentioned girls pancaking the competition on the golf course, but this is a different story. Our streets aren’t teeming with gymnasts and golfers the way they are with little girl basketball, softball and soccer players.
First, I want you to know that there is no such thing as just a girl. I want you to know about J-Train and all that Jazzy jazz. I want you to see champions that look like you.
I want you to know about adversity because there will come a day when it falls down on you like rain. When that time comes, don’t complain about it or run from it. Face it, embrace it and then overcome it. Learn to dance in the rain.
Let Jackie Traina be an example. Watch her grab a towel, clean the ball, wipe it on her pants and wipe out the opposition. When you only have one out remaining, you can still score big. Her teammates have shown you so.
Understand perseverance. You may go to the dance several times before you dance with the partner that you want. Keep going. Keep dancing. One day the partner will meet you. If you give up, I guarantee you will never have that dance.
Finally, the greatest effort in the world will never mean as much if you aren’t willing to see it to the end. What you start, you must finish.
The boys in Alabama have had generations of heroes on the field of competition
. Now, you and all your girlie-girl friends do, too.
Please remember this. Championship trophies are just as sweet when raised by manicured hands.